VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
2 dozen at N. Carolina assisted living center test positive
HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — About two dozen residents at an assisted living center in western North Carolina have tested positive for COVID-19. The Henderson County Health Department and Cherry Springs Village in Hendersonville announced the outbreak at the center on Sunday. The center says it's under quarantine and individuals who tested positive are being treated in isolation. More than a dozen congregate settings are currently in ongoing outbreaks in North Carolina. State health officials reported Sunday close to 2,600 positive COVID-19 cases statewide and 31 deaths. More than 260 people are hospitalized.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-APPALACHIAN TRAIL HIKERS
Coronavirus pandemic disrupts Appalachian Trail dreams
COSBY, Tenn. (AP) — Hikers on the Appalachian Trail face difficult decisions as the coronavirus pandemic worsens: postpone a dream or ignore warnings and keep hiking. Alexandra Eagle and Jonathan Hall planned for a year before setting out March 9 to hike the 2,190-mile trail for their honeymoon. They knew about the new coronavirus spreading across the globe but considered themselves lucky to be trading Brooklyn for a tent on the trail. But the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has urged hikers to leave the trail. For Eagle and Hall, their difficult decision to end their hike came down to the small chance they might catch the virus, something Eagle said she couldn’t live with.
Police: N. Carolina man shot at "large gathering" scene dies
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Police say a North Carolina man died after being shot at a residence where a “large gathering” apparently had occurred in the early morning hours. Fayetteville police said Donovan Butler arrived at a Hoke County hospital early Sunday to say he had been shot at the home. Officers had been sent to the home to respond to reports of shots being fired. Homicide detectives are investigating. North Carolina's statewide stay-at-home order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs people to practice social distancing. Order violations can be a misdemeanor.
Progress made on containing 2 western N. Carolina wildfires
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Federal and North Carolina firefighters have made progress containing two wildfires in western North Carolina. The U.S. Forest Service said that the Camp Daniel Boone fire in Haywood County in the Pisgah National Forest covered about 70 acres as of Sunday afternoon. Another fire burning in the Nantahala National Forest in Macon County is about 90 acres. The causes of the fires are under investigation. Both began on private property and spread due to recent high winds. A North Carolina Forest Service ban on all open burning for 32 western counties remains in effect.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ABORTION CLINIC
Arrests at N. Carolina abortion clinic for violating order
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Several protesters outside a North Carolina abortion clinic have been arrested for refusing to comply with the state’s stay-at-home order for the coronavirus. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said it happened on Saturday, when roughly 50 protesters gathered outside the Charlotte clinic. Gov. Roy Cooper’s order prohibits mass gatherings of more than 10 people. A dozen people received citations when they refused to disperse. Eight of those people ultimately were arrested when they still refused to comply. The charge is a low-grade misdemeanor, with no jail time for a first offense. Seven people were charged recently outside a Greensboro clinic for similar local order noncompliance.
A mounting casualty of coronavirus crisis: Health care jobs
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Tens of thousands of U.S. medical workers are suddenly out of work as casualties of measures to prioritize coronavirus patients at hospitals and of the economic troubles the crisis is creating. Hospitals are plucking professionals from the industry to treat the burgeoning numbers of people with COVID-19, but others are being left behind. Many nurse anesthetists in Pennsylvania have been laid off, though they are particularly critical to the coronavirus response. Big-city specialist groups, tiny hospitals and big multistate systems are seeing big revenue dropoffs. Minnesota reported that over 13,600 practitioners or technicians filed unemployment claims in the last half of March.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA
Legislative economist predicts billion-dollar hit to revenue
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s chief legislative economist has estimated that state revenue collections could take a billion-dollar hit during the current budget cycle due to the coronavirus pandemic. The General Assembly’s chief economist said this week that the state could see overall revenue fall $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion below previous collection forecasts for the two-year budget cycle ending in June 2021 because of the economic slowdown. Legislative economist Barry Boardman wrote the estimate in an email to Senate budget writers that was obtained by The Associated Press. He cautioned the estimates are “very preliminary” and that an updated forecast is expected by mid-May.
North Carolina, U.S. firefighters work to contain wildfires