|Spread of Coronavirus
Across the United States, as of Thursday afternoon, April 9, the number of people who are confirmed to have coronavirus is 466,969. We are sure more people have the virus who have not been tested. Sadly, 16,632 people have died from coronavirus. For the third day in a row, almost 2000 people died in the United States due to coronavirus.
In North Carolina the number of people who are “laboratory-confirmed” to have coronavirus is 3,823. Currently, 398 people are hospitalized with coronavirus. To date, 75 North Carolinians have died from coronavirus.
Seven Watauga County residents have tested positive for coronavirus. Three Ashe County residents have tested positive.
Our prayers are with all these people affected by coronavirus along with their families.
Executive Order 131
Late this afternoon, Governor Cooper announced a new Executive Order with new rules for:
1. Essential Retail Stores including:
· Stores must limit the number of customers to no more than 20% of the building’s fire capacity.
· 6 Foot markers must be marked at checkouts and in other areas where customers may congregate.
· Routines for cleaning
· Establishing 1-way traffic in aisles
Additionally, other recommendations include:
· Employees use cloth face coverings
· Hand sanitizer at entry and exit points
· Shopping times for seniors
2. Expediting Unemployment Claims by allowing employers to file for employees.
3. Strengthening rules for Long-term Care Facilities. Among other rules, Long-Term Care Facilities are now prohibited from group dining and having other group areas. Additionally, many previous recommendations for workers are now enforceable rules.
A helpful FAQ for these new rules can be found at https://files.nc.gov/governor/documents/files/EO-131-FAQs.pdf and the Executive Order can be found at https://governor.nc.gov/documents/executive-order-no-131
Child Care and Coronavirus
Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 130 allows childcare facilities to remain open or to reopen to care for children of essential business workers, children who are receiving child welfare services, or children who are homeless or living in unstable or unsafe living arrangements. The primary assistance provided by North Carolina for the coronavirus emergency are:
· Creating a system of emergency childcare centers for essential workers
· Paying a subsidy to low income essential workers to assist with childcare costs.
· Paying a bonus for childcare teachers and other staff during the emergency.
NC DHHS set up a Hotline for questions and assistance finding childcare for essential workers, 1-888-600-1685. For child care providers with questions, see https://ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov/Whats-New/Coronavirus-Information-for-Child-Care
I know many of you are anxious about receiving your unemployment compensation or filing for it, so here’s some noteworthy news. The NC Division of Employment Security (DES) reported today that 100 additional staffers have been trained and are currently taking calls or working on application documents. DES has also posted temporary job listings for 35 additional employees. Two third-party call centers have deployed staff to assist DES.
I am including a chart to illustrate what a massive challenge DES has. Before March 16, DES had staff and computing capacity to handle up to 3000 claims per week. In the last three weeks, they have received almost 500,000 claims. They are working night and day to resolve the “traffic jam” and understand how important it is to get checks flowing to unemployed workers. They are making significant progress, $40 million (over 150,000 payments) has been paid in the last three weeks to unemployed workers in NC.