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NC coronavirus update August 16: North Carolina reports lowest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since end of May

RALEIGH, N.C. — Here are the latest updates about COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, in North Carolina.What can we help you with? View our COVID-19 information and resources page here
8:00 p.m.
In a news release, Duke University officials said 11 students have tested positive for COVID-19 out of 5,765 tests administered since August 2. Seven students tested positive in the past week.

Duke officials said all 11 students are in mandatory isolation.

Officials said all Duke undergraduate and graduate students are required to get a COVID-19 test before they can enter university housing or attend in-person classes. All students are also required to participate in the school’s pooled surveillance program.

“Duke has undertaken significant steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including moving a number of courses online, de-densifying both residence halls and classrooms by limiting on-campus students to first-years and sophomores, and mandating testing of arriving students before access is granted to campus,” officials wrote in a statement.

7:35 p.m.
East Carolina University has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases in Gateway Residence Hall.

A “cluster” is defined by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as five or more cases that are deemed close proximity in location. “Location” is defined as a single residential hall or dwelling.

5 p.m.
According to NCDHHS, 10,780 more COVID-19 patients are presumed to have recovered in the past week, for a total of 127,749 patients.

Because the NCDHHS and hospitals do not track numbers of recoveries, health officials estimate the number of patients who have recovered by using an average of 14-days for non-hospitalized patients and 28-days for hospitalized patients.

The number of recovered patients is not related to the number of people that are still infectious. A patient’s actual recovery time may be longer or shorter, depending on how severe their symptoms are.

3:30 p.m.
UNC-Chapel Hill is reporting 130 students and five employees have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 10. According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, 13.6 percent of tests have been positive from Aug. 10-16.

This follows four separate COVID-19 clusters being reported at the Sigma Nu fraternity house, Ehringhaus residence hall, Hinton James residence hall and Granville Towers.

Dean of UNC’s school of public health says return of students to campus ‘is not working’

In a newsletter called ‘Monday Morning,’ Dean of UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Barbara Rimer wrote that “with growing numbers of clusters and insufficient control over the off-campus behavior of students (and others), it is time for an off-ramp. We have tried to make this work, but it is not working.”

2:20 p.m.
Wake County Public Schools System administrators said on Monday that distribution was going well for remote learning devices.

In the Spring, the district distributed 32,000 chromebooks and 5,000 hotspots. For this school year, the district got 44,000 new requests for chromebooks and 11,000 new requests for hotspots.

Distribution began on Monday.

Officials said schools are going will be flexible with assignments and grading for students who do not yet have technology access and that they will work as fast as possible to distribute the devices.

In the Spring,
12:35 p.m.
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since May 27, with 564 confirmed cases reported today. The 7-day average of new cases continues to decline.

However, the state also reported the lowest number of tests since mid-June, with 10,302 completed tests.

Only one new COVID-19 death was reported, bringing the state total to 2,348 deaths.

Currently, 980 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, an increase from Sunday’s drop, but remaining below 1,000 for the first time since July 8.

11:35 a.m.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human services urged college students and university staff to take extra prevention measures, especially in communal living settings like dormitories.

In a statement, the department said:
Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, communal living such as dorms makes it challenging to control virus outbreaks. Preventing infection in the first place is the best strategy. That starts with students and staff practicing the 3Ws of wearing a cloth mask that covers the mouth and nose, waiting six feet apart and washing hands often. We will continue to partner with our higher education community as they work to protect those on their campuses.

The Orange County Health Department officials also released a statement, saying they were aware of the COVID-19 clusters at UNC and were working with the university.

11:30 a.m.
A couple hours after technical glitches kept some students and teachers from logging in for the first day of classes, Durham Public Schools said the issue had been fixed.

Durham Public Schools tweeted just before 11:30 a.m. that the issue had been resolved. The school district said anybody still having problems should refresh their browsers and try again to reconnect.

#DPSAlert | The issue that prevented users from accessing NCEdCloud (PowerSchool, Canvas, and Clever) has been resolved. Please refresh your browser before attempting to login again.

— Durham Public Schools (@DurhamPublicSch) August 17, 2020

NC Department of Public Instruction released the following statement about the outage:

“The NC Department of Public Instruction received reports this morning that teachers and students were having problems logging-in to NCEdCloud. The vendor-provider of the NCEdCloud Service confirmed that the product experienced a degradation in service this morning. The vendor will provide an explanation of the root cause once it has identified the source. In the meantime, the service is now working.”

9:20 a.m.
The computer system that runs some of the online portals used by school districts across North Carolina crashed Monday morning.

NCEdCloud is the system used by students and teachers to access online learning tools such as PowerSchool and Canvas.

The technical glitch Monday reportedly made it difficult for some students and teachers to log in.

Monday was the first day of school for many districts across the state. Plus, more students than ever before were logging in for remote classes, as the state is requiring schools to operate at least partly remote for the time being due to COVID-19.

#DPSAlert | NCEdCloud, the system used to access PowerSchool and Canvas, is experiencing technical issues across the state making it difficult for some staff and students to log in. State IT teams are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it.

— Durham Public Schools (@DurhamPublicSch) August 17, 2020

9:15 a.m.
Wake County Public Schools said most computers and online learning devices will not be ready for pickup on Monday.

The district is working to make sure all students in the district have online access, so they can participate in classes for the start of the school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school district said families that requested devices will receive an email when their devices are ready to be picked up. Families can expect to be notified three days before their pick-up date.

CLICK HERE for more about pick up instructions.

8:26 p.m.
Durham County Public Health reports an additional 37 COVID-19 cases raising the county total number of cases to 6,427 as of Sunday evening.

5:03 p.m.
Wake County health officials report a total of 12,666 total COVID-19 cases as of Sunday evening, up 80 from Saturday.

2:40 p.m.
As video surfaces showing a huge gathering of students, UNC is reporting a fourth COVID-19 cluster at Hinton James residence hall. This follows reported clusters at Ehringhaus residence hall, Granville Towers and the Sigma Nu fraternity house.

The university identifies a cluster as five or more cases.

All residents living in the building have been given information about the cluster and next steps.

In the video, students can be seen wearing their masks but not social-distancing. A student who wanted to remain anonymous tells ABC11 the party started around 4 p.m. but was broken up by campus police around 5:15 p.m. It is unclear if there is any correlation between the gathering students say the risks are concerning.

On Monday, the faculty executive committee at UNC-Chapel Hill plans to hold a meeting.

12:30 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,246 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 144,952.

With 80 percent of hospitals reporting, hospitalizations have decreased by 98. That brings the total to 934 statewide, the first time it has been below 1,000 in more than a month.

There have been four more deaths, bringing the total to 2,347.

Why you might see different numbers of COVID-19 cases depending where you look

The state has reported 21,245 more tests, bringing the total to 1,924,626.

North Carolina health officials are reporting that 7 percent of tests are positive.

According to NCDHHS, there are 551 empty ICU beds and 5,458 empty inpatient hospital beds.

7:30 a.m.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there are 5,361,613 total confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States.


6:30 p.m.
Durham County’s latest update shows 6,390 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 26 since Friday.

5 p.m.
Wake County is reporting 12,645 total confirmed COVID-19 cases with 183 coronavirus-related deaths. The average age of those infected is 39 years old.
Women make up 53 percent of those testing positive in the county.

4 p.m.

UNC has identified another COVID-19 cluster, this time at the Sigma Nu fraternity on Fraternity Court in Chapel Hill.

Students at UNC are nervous about the COVID-19 clusters popping up on campus with some leaving Chapel Hill entirely. UNC junior Hallie Phillips moved out Saturday, taking her belongings to her parents’ home in Raleigh. Phillips, a member of Phi Beta Phi, was initially anxious about the reports of the virus on campus. Friday’s news about the clusters was the last straw.

“My mom actually sent me the article as a screenshot so the message she sent was like ‘come home,'” Phillips told ABC11’s Morgan Norwood. “So that played a role.”

RELATED: UNC identifies 3rd cluster of COVID-19 cases at Sigma Nu fraternity

1 p.m.
North Carolina health officials are reporting 1,536 more COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 143,706 statewide.

There have been 30 more deaths, bringing the total to 2,343.

Just under 26,000 new tests were completed statewide, bringing the total to 1,903,401.

The percent positive rate of tests has increased back up to 7 percent for the first time since last Saturday. The state has been reporting a percent positive test rate of 6 percent every day since Aug. 8.

Hospitalizations have decreased by 17 to 1,032.

8 a.m.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, there have been 5,314,021 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Copyright © 2020 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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