Here’s a round up of COVID-19 related news for 10/9/20. See our Coronavirus Resource Guide for extensive resources and information.
North Carolina as a whole
Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing $35 million in operational grants from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help child care programs providing in-person child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April through July, NCDHHS has provided over $80 million in monthly operational grants for child care programs that served over 105,000 children statewide throughout the pandemic.
“These grants will help offset the significant financial strains placed on child care to meet health and safety guidelines while serving fewer children,” said Governor Cooper. “Our child care programs have been on the frontlines since the start of this pandemic, keeping their doors open so other workers could keep our economy running and the public safe. A strong and safe child care system is essential to our recovery.”
Throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS has maintained North Carolina’s long history of investments in child care by providing monthly operational grants since April, child care teacher and staff bonuses in April and May, and an emergency subsidy child care program in April and May.
For more information about child care during COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/child-care.
North Carolina is poised to hand out a $335 coronavirus relief check to more than 1 million parents across the state on Dec. 15 — but up to 70,000 of them are at risk of missing out if an error on their 2019 tax forms isn’t corrected.
Extra Credit grants are going out automatically to parents who claimed a child deduction on their 2019 state taxes or who filled out an application because they didn’t earn enough to file taxes, The News & Observer reported.
Oct. 15 is the deadline to ensure you receive a check from the Department of Revenue.
But the department noticed in late September that some qualifying parents “might not be eligible for the automatic payment because of a tax preparation software error outside of the department,” according to The N&O.
The software error seems to have incorrectly recorded a “0” on line 10a because it was unable to claim a North Carolina child deduction for tax preparers whose adjusted gross income exceeds $120,000 if married filing jointly or $60,000 if single.
Asheville City Schools will remain all virtual for at least another three to four weeks. In his statement, Superintendent Gene Freeman cited local COVID-19 numbers and flu season as reasons to remain remote.
“I know and understand that families were hoping to hear a more solidified response; however, the safety of our students and staff is my number one priority,” he wrote in his statement. “At this time, I simply do not feel comfortable bringing back a large number of students for in-person learning.”
Asheville City Schools’ decision comes less than a week after Buncombe County Schools decided to bring high schoolers back to school on an A/B rotational plan starting Monday, October 19th.
The Asheville Downtown Association announced Oct. 6 it would cancel this year’s version of the annual Asheville Holiday Parade over public health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association based its decision on Gov. Roy Cooper’s Phase 3 guidelines, which continue to limit outdoor gatherings to 50 and placing occupancy limits on outdoor spaces and venues.
“The uncertainty of COVID-19 conditions and public safety protocols in effect at the time of the parade drove the decision,” a Downtown Association release said.
“There are thousands of people in the parade and as many as 20,000 have come to watch in previous years, so it’s just not responsible to move forward in the midst of a public health crisis,” association Executive Director Meghan Rogers said in a statement.
The Asheville Downtown Association took the reins of the Asheville Holiday Parade in 2008. The holiday event would have marked its 74th anniversary this year.
Hospitalizations and daily new COVID-19 cases are up in some parts of the mountains, that’s according to Mission Health and Buncombe County health officials.
“I don’t think we’re past the first spike,” said Dr. William Hathaway, Mission Health’s chief medical officer. Hathaway said COVID-19 hospitalizations are now at an average of 35-40 up from 25-30 a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, hospitalizations in North Carolina are now over 1,000 for the first time in more than a month.
Buncombe County health officials said their highest infection rate is among 25- to 49-year-olds. They said they’re continuing to see cases in long-term care facilities.
Officials also added that they’re seeing an increase in daily new cases after a decrease in August and September.
October is here, and though it’s early enough in the season that influenza cases in North Carolina remain minimal, public health officials are using this time to remind Americans that getting their flu shot this year is more important than ever.
This week’s flu numbers come as the country approaches 7.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. With no end in sight to the pandemic, the CDC is also predicting the United States will see anywhere from 39 million to 56 million influenza cases this season.
Get your flu shot, and get it early.