4/17/20: 3 N.C. MEDICAL SCHOOLS JOIN STATEWIDE EFFORT TO ASSESS TRUE COVID-19 INFECTION RATE. STATE HAS NOT HIT PEAK. GOVERNOR SAYS N.C. NEEDS FEDERAL HELP WITH TESTING, SUPPLIES.

Testkit

Governor Roy Cooper announced today a partnership with three of the state’s medical universities to increase testing and tracing in North Carolina, according to a report this afternoon by The Raleigh News and Observer.

The University of North Carolina, East Carolina University, and Duke University have joined a statewide research project designed to learn more about the percentage of North Carolina residents who have COVID-19 and are asymptomatic and, generally, “to better understand the true number of COVID-19 infections in our state,” the Governor said at a news conference.

North Carolina has four medical schools. The fourth is at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

Governor Cooper also emphasized at his conference the need for more help from the federal government with testing and personal protective equipment, The News and Observer reported. (Note: All coronavirus reporting by The News and Observer is available free.)

The Governor spoke of “global supply chain breakdowns” that compel the federal government to “help more” than it has.

So far, the state has conducted about 73,000 COVID-19 tests, according to the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS)—a number that accounts for much less than 1 percent of North Carolina’s total population.

North Carolina, which is the ninth most populous state in the country, has about 10.5 million people.

Contrary to a University of Washington model that estimated the heaviest outbreak of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina would come this week, public-health experts now believe the peak could come as late as mid-May.

The NCDHHS reported today 394 more confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state over yesterday’s total. The largest one-day surge in cases statewide was reportedly 404 cases on April 11.

The acute phase of this respiratory disease will subside, but there is great uncertainty about what the post-acute phase will look like and whether a resurgence is likely.

More than 630,000 people filed for unemployment insurance in the past month, according to the N.C. Division of Employment Security, which plans to triple its staff to 1,600 in order to process the claims.

LOCALLY, DARE COUNTY continues a nearly weeklong trend of reporting no new COVID-19 cases.

See Dare Emergency Management Bulletin No. 45: https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6155/1483.

THIS JUST IN (at 5 p.m.):

DARE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS CHAIRMAN BOB WOODARD, who is also the chair of the Dare County Control Group, addresses the public on the eve of the fourth weekend of Stay Home-Stay Healthy order. Access the videotape at:

https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/6160/398

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 4/17/20

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