By Hayley Fowler and

Simone Jasper

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

More than 2,600 cases added

At least 1,463,410 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and at least 17,765 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday reported 2,609 new COVID-19 cases, down from 3,003 on Thursday.

Sixty-nine additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported Friday. Health officials don’t specify the specific dates for the newly reported deaths.

At least 1,693 people were reported hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Friday, including 468 adult patients who are being treated in intensive care units, health officials said.

On Wednesday, the latest date with available information, 4.4% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Health officials say 5% or lower is the target rate to slow the spread of the virus.

Roughly 71% of adults in North Carolina have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 66% have been fully vaccinated. State officials round vaccination numbers to the nearest whole number.

Most unvaccinated in NC are unlikely to get their shots, poll finds

About two-thirds of North Carolinians who haven’t gotten their COVID-19 shots say it’s not likely they will get them, new poll results show.

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The Elon University Poll also found roughly 70% of respondents had already been vaccinated against the virus, similar to the statewide rate for adults.

In the survey, about 65% of residents said they had already gotten a booster shot or planned to do so. Also, 60% of people supported the federal government’s rule that large businesses require workers to be vaccinated or test for COVID-19 each week, The Charlotte Observer reported Friday.

The poll had more than 1,200 responses between Oct. 15 and Oct. 17.

Changes to 911 calls in Charlotte area as pandemic lingers

Mecklenburg EMS is making changes to its 911 response to help manage resources during COVID-19 and a shortage in health care workers.

Starting Thursday, callers will get “lights and sirens” from the Charlotte Fire Department but not from Medic, an emergency service agency in Mecklenburg County. Patients at low risk also will get “no lights and sirens” from Medic ambulances, The Charlotte Observer reported.

“Only 1 to 1.5% of patients required ... potentially life saving interventions,” said John Studnek, deputy director of Medic. “More than 25% required no transport at all.”

Also during the pandemic, Medic formed a partnership that uses ride-share services to help low-risk patients get to hospitals.

Cawthorn introduces bill to ban vaccine travel mandates

North Carolina Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn has introduced a bill called the ‘‘Let Me Travel America Act,’’ which would ban the government from instituting a vaccine mandate for people traveling in the U.S.

“Vaccine requirements for interstate travel are in direct opposition to the United States Constitution,” Cawthorn said in a release announcing the legislation. “The Biden Administration continues to flaunt their blatant disregard for the law in pursuit of their left-wing radical agenda.”

There are no vaccine mandates for travel currently in effect, The News & Observer reported, and the measure isn’t likely to pass in either the U.S. House or the Senate — where Democrats have the majority.

House votes on bill that would limit governor’s emergency powers

A bill that calls for limiting the North Carolina governor’s powers during emergencies passed the state House on Wednesday.

The proposal is similar to what other states have considered in response to orders issued during the pandemic.

The bill, which passed 65-45 mostly along party lines, “would limit the governor’s ability to declare long-running states of emergency without agreement from other members on the Council of State, who are the 10 statewide elected officials including the lieutenant governor, attorney general and labor commissioner,” The News & Observer reported Wednesday.

Now, the proposal goes to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who will likely veto it. A Cooper spokesperson said the governor must be able to quickly respond during emergency situations.

This story was originally published October 22, 2021 7:25 AM.

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