Number of coronavirus cases increases to 12 in North Carolina, 1 in Johnston County

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — The latest updates on coronavirus in North Carolina:

10:50 p.m.
Duke officials made the “difficult decision” to suspend “residential activities” on the campus and is now urging as many students as possible to not be on campus for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester. Students are asked to vacate their residency as soon as possible.

9:30 p.m.
In response to the COVID-19 concerns, the City of Raleigh will not disconnect water for non-payments.

“During this time, we want to ensure all Raleigh Water customers have access to clean drinking water and wastewater service,” officials said in a news release.

The City of Raleigh says it will continue to monitor guidance from public health agencies and provide updates on the policy moving forward

9:00 p.m.
The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh said that it is “waiving the obligation for the faithful to attend Sunday Mass” but is not issuing a diocesan-wide cancellation of Masses.

8:00 p.m.
Durham Public Schools has made the “difficult decision” to close for students effective Monday, March 16.

7:00 p.m.
A Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune dependent has tested presumptively positive for COVID-19.

6:20 p.m.
A Wake County resident tested positive for the novel coronavirus, county officials said. This patient marks the eighth case in the county.

Officials said the patient started to feel sick in the morning on March 10, then went to the doctor. The doctor sent a test for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, to LabCorp for analysis and the patient isolated themselves at home.

It is unclear at this time where the patient may have contracted the disease.

“The doctor’s office and the patient handled this situation very well,” Wake County Medical Director Dr. Kim McDonald said in a written statement. “The patient wore a mask and was kept away from other patients during the visit, and the medical staff wore the proper personal protective equipment.”

Wake County said the person did not come into close contact with anyone while symptomatic.

6:15 p.m.
Orange County Schools will be closed until April 6.

5:15 p.m.
IBM asks all US employees to work from home if possible through the end of March.

4:50 p.m.
N.C. State said it will suspend all athletic activities until further notice in response to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

4:20 p.m.
The NCAA announced that it has canceled the college basketball tournaments as well as all other winter and spring sports in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

4 p.m.
At a briefing in Raleigh (see more below), Gov. Roy Cooper urged organizers to postpone all gatherings of more than 100 people, such as concerts, sporting events, and church services.

*Employers should allow employees to work from home whenever possible,” Cooper said. *Everyone should be vigilant about monitoring their health for symptoms.”

4 p.m.
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill announced that it will immediately suspend all athletic-related activities and participation in NCAA championships.

3:30 p.m.
Wake Tech is transitioning to all online classes until April 5.

3:15 p.m.
Atlantic Coast Conference suspended all athletics, including participation in the NCAA tournament.

Major League Baseball delayed Opening Day by at least two weeks and suspended spring training games.

2:30 p.m.
The All American Marathon has been canceled for 2020.

North Carolina High School Athletic Association postponed both the men’s and women’s basketball state championship games indefinitely. In addition, NCHSAA suspended all athletic events, including practices, workouts and games from Saturday until April 6.

There are now 15 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The health department has updated its website to reflect the two new cases in Mecklenburg County.

2:00 p.m.
Michael Buble’s concert at PNC Arena has been postponed. The venue confirmed all tickets for the event will be honored for the rescheduled date, which has not been announced at this time.

1:40 p.m.
The Carolina Hurricanes’ season is on hold.

National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman decided to suspend the current NHL season due to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

“We will continue to monitor all the appropriate medical advice, and we will encourage our players and other members of the NHL community to take all reasonable precautions – including by self-quarantine, where appropriate. Our goal is to resume play as soon as it is appropriate and prudent so that we will be able to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup. Until then, we thank NHL fans for your patience and hope you stay healthy.”

12:20 p.m.
The final three days of the tournament was officially canceled Thursday. Florida State, the tournament’s No. 1 seed after finishing first during the regular season, was named ACC champion.

11:50 a.m:

Mecklenburg County health officials announced that two people have tested positive for coronavirus in Mecklenburg County. It is unclear whether they live in Mecklenburg County.

“We are now in a situation where we could potentially have community spread,” Health Director Gibbie Harris said.

Officials said one of the Mecklenburg County cases was tied to out of the country travel and the other was possibly tied to out of the state travel, according to WSOC.

11:30 a.m.
The Tobacco Road Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, March 15 in Cary, has been canceled. All 2020 runners will be offered a deferral for the 2021 race.

11:00 a.m.
The North Carolina High School Athletic Association said no fans will be allowed at Saturday’s State Basketball Championship games. Only essential staff and family members will be allowed to attend the games.

10:30 a.m:

There are now 12 cases of coronavirus in North Carolina, according to Dr. Elizabeth Tilson of the NCDHHS.

Tilson and her department have been saying for several days that the number of cases would begin increasing. She contributed the increase to the state’s laboratory increasing its ability to test more patient samples.

She said all but the most recent of the 12 cases have known contact with someone who had the virus. Tilson said officials are still working to track down how the most recent patient contracted the virus.

CANCELLATION OF EVENTS:
In a news conference Thursday afternoon, Cooper recommended organizers cancel or postpone all events or gatherings with more than 100 expected attendees, including concerts, athletic events and worship services.

“We urge everyone to comply with these steps to protect the public health above all else,” Cooper said.

While Cooper said he expects all North Carolinians and North Carolina businesses to comply with this guidance, he said he would issue an executive order if necessary.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said the recommendations apply to all North Carolina residents, regardless of risk category.

“We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach when it comes to this virus,” Cohen said. She also recommended that all employers and employees use teleworking technologies to the best of their abilities.

However, Cohen said officials are not recommending that schools close preemptively. Cohen said they are working closely with individual school systems, but because children are not at high risk for serious illness, schools will remain open.

“There are real impacts if you close schools,” Cohen said, citing that kids may congregate in other settings if schools are closed or may spend more time with higher risk populations at home, such as grandparents.

Cohen also said closing schools would affect food insecure students who rely on free breakfast and lunch at school.

Cooper also recognized that canceling events and encouraging people to work from home would take an economic toll on North Carolinians.

“I know that people are worried about what all this means for their families, their jobs, their incomes and their communities,” Cooper said. “By blunting the spread of the virus, our actions today aim to lessen the long-term negative effects on our economy as well as our health.”

WATCH: What is Social Distancing?

TESTING:
Cohen said health officials currently have the supplies to complete 700 tests, with academic and private industry partners also running tests on their own.

“We know that we are seeing much more testing beyond the state lab, which is good news,” Cohen said.

THE LATEST CASES:
Thursday morning, Cooper said the task force learned of two new cases in Forsyth County and one in Johnston County on Thursday morning. The State Department of Health and Human Services says all three are doing well and in isolation at home.

The affected couple in Forysth County were on a cruise where other people tested positive.

The exposure for the person from Johnston County is still under investigation. Johnston County officials are working on a timeline of places the affected person visited. The county confirms the person traveled ‘multiple places’ and tested positive when returning home.

RELATED | Durham, Wake County residents test positive for coronavirus, both in isolation

“This is not a surprise,” Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson said. “It’s likely that more individuals will test presumptively positive for the virus.”

“All of our lives will change in some way in the next weeks and months,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “It’s critical to remember that we’re all in this together.”

Previous COVID-19 Cases Related to North Carolina:

Fourteen of the state’s cases are classified as presumptive positive, which equates to a positive COVID-19 test that still must be confirmed by more testing. There is one confirmed positive case, which means the test has been verified by the CDC lab.

Cooper said there will be more cases.

“This epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better. We all know that.”

The North Carolina COVID-19 taskforce is meeting Thursday morning to talk about the state’s response to the outbreak.

“I feel like our state is ready to handle this, but we want to make sure we are as coordinated as we can be,” Cohen said.

WATCH: This 6-year-old makes washing your hands fun to prevent the spread of COVID-19

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