We’re tracking the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

Cases top 166,000

At least 166,127 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus and 2,692 have died, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday reported 1,051 new COVID-19 cases, down from 2,585 the day before.

The health department said the Saturday’s new cases included about 1,000 positive tests from early August that LabCorp had just reported. The department said it’s working with LabCorp to understand what caused the delay but that “LabCorp confirmed that individuals were not delayed in receiving their results.”

The health department also reported nine additional deaths Sunday.

As of Saturday, the latest date available, health officials said nearly 9% of tests were positive. State health officials have said that number should be 5% or lower.

At least 917 people in North Carolina were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, down from 965 on Saturday.

Judge considers ‘special liaison’ to reduce prison risks

A North Carolina judge says he is considering appointing a “special liaison” tasked with reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection in state prisons.

A group is arguing in a lawsuit that Gov. Roy Cooper, Secretary of the N.C. Department of Public Safety Erik Hooks and other state officials aren’t doing enough to protect the more than 31,000 people who are in North Carolina prisons from the virus.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued during the hearing in Wake County Superior Court that officials failed to come up with a plan to release more people from prison early and that some prisons aren’t following guidelines from health officials, The News & Observer reported Saturday.

Whitley Carpenter, attorney with the organization Forward Justice, asked Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier to appoint a “special master” to expand criteria for release and to make recommendations to the court about releasing people.

“The special master should also have the authority to review grievances and other documentation related to the defendants’ management of the pandemic in our state prisons,” Carpenter said.

Rozier said he plans to consider appointing a “special liaison” but needs time to review evidence.

Cases climb at NC colleges, universities

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase at North Carolina colleges and universities.

Davidson College reported a cluster Friday night involving members of its baseball team, The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday. A cluster is defined as five or more cases in close proximity. The students are asymptomatic and isolating.

The college has reported a total of 13 cases out of more than than 1,600 tests in recent days.

N.C. State University announced two new coronavirus clusters on Friday, bringing the university’s total clusters to 31. The new clusters were at a residence hall and an off-campus apartment complex. Most of the university’s 6,600 students living on campus started moving out last week.

The number of coronavirus cases at UNC-Chapel Hill topped 1,000 on Friday after officials reported another 26 cases. The university reported 12 COVID-19 clusters on campus and university-affiliated properties, including Greek life houses, in the first two weeks of classes.

The reported increases come after some schools started fall semesters on Aug. 10. N.C. State, UNC-Chapel Hill and East Carolina University have since switched to online-only learning for undergraduates. UNC-Chapel Hill announced Friday students will have the option to pass/fail any of their classes during the fall semester.

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Bailey Aldridge is a reporter covering real-time news in North and South Carolina. She has a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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