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VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA

Virus outbreak reported at central N. Carolina nursing home

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Three residents of a central North Carolina nursing home have tested positive for COVID-19. The Johnston County Health Department said on Saturday that the cases involved residents at Springbrook Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Clayton. A handful of nursing homes have reported outbreaks. State health officials report North Carolina with over 2,400 positive COVID-19 cases and 24 deaths. More than 270 people are hospitalized. A statewide stay-at-home order took effect March 30. Gov. Roy Cooper suggested on Friday that more restrictions could occur if it's determined people aren't practicing social distancing as much as is needed to blunt the virus spread.

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.

AP-US-VIRUS-OUTBREAK-HOSPITAL-LAYOFFS

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.

FOREST FIRES

North Carolina, U.S. firefighters work to contain wildfires

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Firefighters are working to slow the spread of western North Carolina wildfires that have spread due to high winds. The U.S. Forest Service said on Saturday that a fire that began on private property Friday in Haywood County expanded to the Shining Rock Wilderness Area of Pisgah National Forest, covering 50 acres.  Another fire covering 30 acres in Macon County also began on private property and expanded to the Nantahala National Forest. The North Carolina Forest Service has ordered an open fire ban in 32 western north Carolina counties due to the hazardous conditions.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-NORTH CAROLINA COURTS

North Carolina courts delay most proceedings due to virus

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s chief justice has pushed most court proceedings back to June or later in order to promote social distancing to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley issued an order that state superior and district court proceedings be rescheduled until June 1 or later if they don’t meet criteria for an exception. Beasley had previously postponed most court proceedings until mid-April. The order allows exceptions for proceedings that can be conducted remotely, certain urgent criminal proceedings or emergency relief such as restraining orders and domestic violence protective order. Chief judges can also make exceptions if they determine that a hearing can be held without endangering people’s health.

CONVENIENCE STORE-SHOOTING

Youth accused in fatal shooting at North Carolina store lot

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina's largest city say a 16-year-old has been charged with murder in the death of another teenager in the parking lot of a convenience store. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say the unidentified youth is accused in the shooting death of 17-year-old Reginald Deveaux. He died Thursday night about an hour after officers responded to a shooting report on Charlotte’s east side. They found Deveaux with an apparent gunshot wound. Police announced the 16-year-old's arrest and charge late Friday.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-STATE TREASURER

North Carolina treasurer goes home after COVID-19 treatment

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina State Treasurer Dale Folwell has been released from the hospital after what his office said was five days of treatment for symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus. A statement from Folwell's office on Friday said Folwell will continue his recovery from home, following protocols described in his discharge as well as those required by local and state health officials. Folwell said in a previous statement that he returned to Raleigh after a recent, long-planned trip with his son and noticed that his perennial cough had worsened. He said he thought initially it was a reaction to pollen, but he ultimately contacted a doctor and got tested.