Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


First NC virus deaths reported; more home orders issued

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor has reported the state's first two deaths from coronavirus. Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday that a person from Cabarrus County died Tuesday and another person from Virginia who was traveling through the state also died from COVID-19 complications. More local governments issued stay-at-home orders for residents on Wednesday. North Carolina has gradually reduced allowable gathering sizes and ordered some nonessential businesses to close. Cooper says additional state guidance and orders will be coming. Health officials have reported more than 500 cases of the virus statewide.


North Carolina Treasurer Folwell tests positive for virus

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell says he's been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. Folwell said on Wednesday that he learned late Tuesday that he had tested positive. Folwell said he noticed a perennial cough had worsened, contacted a physician and got tested earlier this week. He said he and his son had returned recently from a long-planned trip but didn't say where they went. Folwell is a Repubilcan who was elected treasurer in 2016 and is seeking reelection this fall. He manages state pension funds and oversees the health insurance plan for state employees and teachers.


Darius Swann, who fought for school integration, dies at 95

A man whose challenge to the notion of segregated public schools helped spark the use of busing to integrate schools has died at his Virginia home. The Rev. Darius L. Swann was 95. Swann's wife, Vera, said her husband died on March 8 of pneumonia. His lawsuit filed against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1965, stemmed from his efforts to enroll his son in a predominantly white school closer to their home instead of a predominantly African American school further away. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld court-ordered busing in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, clearing the way for the use of busing as a means of desegregation.


Man found dead in tractor at North Carolina recycling site

HIGH POINT, N.C. (AP) — Police say a man was found dead in the driver's seat of a tractor at a North Carolina recycling site, but foul play is not suspected. The Winston-Salem Journal reports High Point police said the facility manager saw the truck arrive to pick up a load from the loading dock, but when he couldn't make contact with the driver. he checked inside the cab and found 66-year-old Jerry Wayne McCuller of Tupelo, Mississippi, dead in the cab, Officials don't know how McCuller died, but an autopsy has been ordered to determine the cause of death.


2020 'Olympics of the Violin' postponed a year due to virus

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An event considered the world's leading international competition for young violinists has been postponed for a year in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Event organizers announced Wednesday that the Menuhin Competition originally scheduled for mid-May in Richmond, Virginia, would instead be held in May 2021. The event is known as the “Olympics of the Violin." It was founded in 1983 by violinist Yehudi Menuhin, one of the great musical talents of the 20th century.  The competition, typically held every two years in a different location, was founded in 1983 by violinist Yehudi Menuhin, one of the great musical talents of the 20th century.


Publix stores to have barriers for cashiers as virus spreads

MIAMI (AP) — Florida-based grocery chain Publix says it will begin installing plexiglass barriers at the cash registers to protect its workers and customers from the coronavirus. A company spokeswoman says all of its stores should have the barriers installed within the next two weeks. Publix has joined its competitors Kroger and Walmart in installing the so-called “sneeze guards.” Grocery stores are seeing their business soar as authorities urge people only to go out for essentials, prompting them to stay inside and cook more at home. Publix has more than 1,200 locations spread across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.


Sheriff's office links chase, shooting to body found at home

CLEMMONS, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina sheriff's office says a chase that led to a fatal shooting involving a deputy is connected to the discovery of a body found at a home. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office said a body was found at the home of 46-year-old Toni Renee Handy, who had been reported missing just after midnight Tuesday by Winston-Salem police. In the afternoon, a sheriff's deputy spotted Handy's pickup truck, which had been reported stolen. Authorities say 45-year-old Christopher Joel Mock drove the pickup truck through a shopping center parking lot and crashed into another truck before he was shot.


14 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway closed in North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The National Park Service says it has closed 14 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway through southwestern North Carolina in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Officials didn't say when the stretch would reopen. The parkway runs more than 450 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, and the service noted that other sections would remain accessible. Officials said they would continue to monitor conditions in the region. The announcement comes as popular national parks across the country, including Great Smoky Mountains, closed their gates Tuesday as visitors continued to flock to the sites.