LIVE BLOG: North Carolina bills for COVID-19 relief, mandatory in-person schooling working through General Assembly – WXII12 Winston-Salem

Here you can find up-to-the-minute information on the coronavirus in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina and the surrounding region. Click the video player above for the latest information from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.Live Updates:4:05 p.m. Friday: The Alamance County Health Department will now offer coronavirus vaccinations to people who are 65 years and older, in coordination with the NCDHHS guidelines.3:30 p.m. Friday: The Forsyth County Health Department will start registration for 900 new appointments at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6. The appointments are for Feb. 11 through Feb. 13.To schedule online, click here.1:50 p.m. Friday: The Forsyth County District Court will change the way it works for cases on the docket for the first time starting Monday because of coronavirus. A new ADVISE court, located on the Main Street (second floor) entrance of the Hall of Justice, will be where people are seen for their first time on the docket.During the pandemic, a limited number of people will be let in the building at one time, so people will most likely have to wait in a social-distanced line outside of the building for admittance.With weather conditions, people are strongly urged to dress appropriately and avoid bringing small children, "as the wait time outdoors could be relatively significant, given the number of people needing to be advised and the small number of individuals that will be allowed into the building at once," according to Chief District Court Judge Lisa Menefee.Masks will be required both in the building and while people are waiting in line outside.Individuals who have an attorney before the scheduled ADVISE court date do not have to be present, as attorneys can notify the office ahead of the date and secure a new court date on their behalf.1:35 p.m. Friday: NCDHHS reported 113 new deaths Friday as the number of patients in the hospital continues to trend downward.12:30 p.m. Friday: The Guilford County Health Department will start registration for 3,800 new appointments on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 8 a.m.The county is following NCDHHS guidelines of offering vaccinations to people 65 years and older as part of groups 1 and 2.To schedule an appointment, click here or call 336-641-7944 (Option 2) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.Vaccine clinics are being held at:Mount Zion Baptist Church - 1301 Alamance Church Rd., GreensboroHigh Point University Community Center at Oak Hollow Mall - 921 Eastchester Dr., Suite 1230, High PointGreensboro Coliseum - 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro 6:50 p.m. Thursday: A North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women Offender who tested positive for the coronavirus died Thursday. We are working hard to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons. The health and safety of the staff and the offender population continues to be our top priority, said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons.The person tested positive on Dec. 24, was hospitalized on Jan. 3 and her condition worsened, officials said. She was a female in her early 70s with underlying health conditions.6 p.m. Thursday: While Wake Forest Baptist Health emergency medicine physicians Dr. Jennifer Hannum and Dr. Manoj Pariyadath always watched the Super Bowl together, they've never attended the game in person -- until now.Drs. Hannum, Dr. Pariyadath, and eight of their friends are part of a group of 7,500 vaccinated health care workers in the U.S. personally invited by the NFL to go to Super Bowl LV, which is Sunday in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium.Both WFBH doctors said they feel comfortable traveling to and attending the game."We looked into what the NFL was doing and the safety precautions and measures they were affording us and we felt good about it," said Dr. Hannum, who added it was another doctor in the group who personally wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explaining their Super Bowl tradition and hoping they would be among those chosen to go.Click the link below to read more.3:45 p.m. Thursday: Gov. Roy Cooper outlined a $4 billion budget plan Thursday to use COVID-19 relief funds for immediate needs and state resources during the coronavirus pandemic.This plan would be a part of the bill that passed in the House Thursday, according to Cooper's press conference.I appreciate the work of legislators to quickly pass vital relief as the state responded to the pandemic last year and I believe we can work together to get the job done again," Gov. Cooper said." Our communities and people face serious challenges and we must come together to identify areas of common ground and help our people beat the pandemic and thrive once again."According to Gov. Cooper, federal funds would go toward:About $2 billion for emergency assistance for public and private K-12 schools and higher education institutions$336 million for childcare and development block grantsAbout $700 million for access to vaccines and testing, tracing and prevention measures to slow the spread of the virus$546 million for emergency rental assistance, which will build on North Carolinas current work, such as the HOPE program$258 million for Highway Infrastructure and $65 million for airports$47 million for Community Mental Health ServicesFunding for food assistance programs, such as SNAP and school nutritionCooper said the state's budget remains strong, and he also recommends:$50 million for continued hazard duty pay for state employees on the frontlines of COVID-19, especially law enforcement and corrections personnel$64.5 million for the replenishment of the North Carolina State Health Plan$468 million for bonuses for educators and school personnel in public K-12 schools, community colleges and the university system$30 million to extend high-speed internet to all corners of the state and other urgent connectivity initiatives, such as IT infrastructure, security for community colleges and enhancement of 35,000 hotspots used for education$37 million to support small businesses that have suffered during the pandemic and often dont have large cash reserves, including small business counseling, marketing for tourism and hospitality, ReTOOLNC program for historically underutilized businesses (HUBs), and the business loan program at Golden L.E.A.F.Expansion of state unemployment benefits, which are still among the lowest in the country (North Carolinas Unemployment Trust Fund remains healthy, with a balance of more than $2.59 billion. North Carolina should increase the maximum duration of benefits to 26 weeks and increase the maximum benefit from $350 to $500 per week.)Click the link below to watch the full press conference.3:15 p.m. Thursday: NCDHHS reported 150 new coronavirus-related deaths Thursday as other data trends downward. 2:45 p.m. Thursday: The House unanimously approved a coronavirus relief bill Thursday that sends federal money approved by Congress in December to schools for reopening, public health officials distributing the vaccine and residents struggling to pay their rent.The bill also extends the Extra Credit grants for parts who didn't take advantage of the stimulus opportunity in 2020.Click the link below to learn more.2:40 p.m. Thursday: North Carolina senators gave preliminary approval for a bill Thursday that would require school districts in the state to offer at least partial in-person instruction for all K-12 public school students.Senate Bill 37, which was proposed by state Sens. Deanna Ballard, Michael Lee and Ralph Hise, would still allow parents to utilize an online-only option for their child.Click the link below to read more.1:45 p.m. Thursday: Gov. Roy Cooper is giving a coronavirus update at 3 p.m. to discuss the state's vaccine efforts and emergency budget supplement options.This will be streamed live on our Facebook and Twitter pages, WXII on TV, and in the lead video of this article.12:45 p.m. Thursday: North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented her vision and priorities to the State Board of Education Thursday to transform public education during the coronavirus.Truitt noted literacy, testing and accountability, and human capital will guide the Department of Public Instruction to address learning loss during the pandemic and make sure every student has a highly qualified teacher and education. Truitt addressed the three priorities in the following statement:If we want to truly address learning loss that has resulted from COVID, the conversation must begin with literacy. Reading and math proficiency has been a decades-long struggle in North Carolinaa struggle that certainly pre-dates COVID. If we want to change the statistics and improve reading proficiency, our state must start doing things differently. My goal is for us to shift from a one-by-one approach focused on individual students who struggle in reading to instead addressing the underlying issue: the methods used to teach reading. The department will share more on this priority in the coming weeks.As part of the departments continued COVID transition and recovery efforts, we will seek to change our current system of student testing and school accountability. Testing is an essential tool used by educators to see where knowledge gaps exist and will undoubtedly play a key role in navigating the path forward out of COVID. But it must be student-centered, allow teachers to make data-driven instructional decisions, and provide timely communication to parents regarding their childs performance. The fallout of the pandemic has also underscored the limitations of the current school accountability system in place. We need to reform the accountability model so that it better reflects the myriad ways schools are working to transform teaching and learning.Finally, I know that in order to equip students, we must invest in the very people on the frontlines who lead, teach and guide every day. This is why we will develop a human capital strategy that creates a robust pipeline of highly qualified teachers, principals, and school support personnel in every district. We know that many of our students do not have fully licensed math teachers, and our schools frequently lack teachers for exceptional children and secondary science. As students transition back into the classroom in the coming months, school support staff like school psychologists will play a pivotal role in helping students recovery emotionally and academically."12:10 p.m. Thursday: Multiple employees at Tyson Foods received their coronavirus vaccine from health officials at the Wilkesboro facility. This is part of the eligibility of Group 2 for North Carolina, including people who are older than 65.11:55 a.m. Thursday: Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert at Wake Forest Baptist Health, gave an update on the coronavirus in the Triad Thursday.He said he is concerned that people are letting their guard down when they should be putting it back up because of coronavirus variants."Its more important than ever actually to pay attention than ever to those details, Dr. Ohl said in regards to the 3 Ws. He said he has gotten a lot of questions about double masking, but reminded people that masking is to protect others rather than yourself. If you really are looking to protect yourself, you should consider a surgical mask, N-95 mask, or wearing a mask and a face shield. As for what he does, Dr. Ohl said he wears a double-lined, strong, form-fitting cloth mask on his nose and mouth. He doesn't see a need at this time to double mask.The major risk is when taking the mask on and off with your hands, because most people don't do it properly or wash their hands beforehand.When it comes to vaccines, Dr. Ohl said there is no reason at this time that pregnant people or women who are breastfeeding cannot get the shot. Those who have had COVID-19, but are no longer symptomatic can get the shot, but can also wait about three months because of antibodies if they want to let others who may have more of risk ahead of them in line.Once you have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated, Dr. Ohl stressed that it is not a free-for-all and people still need to take precautions. While there is more of an immunity to the virus, there is no data of whether a person can still transmit the disease at this time.11:20 a.m. Thursday: Hope Fest 4 Hunger, a multicultural dance festival, is going virtual in 2021.The premiere of "Dances for a Pandemic" will be streamed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28. for free with donations going to fight local hunger with Greensboro Urban Ministry and A Simple Gesture.The dances will include African, Cambodian, Hindu, Irish, Latin, and Native American cultures.10: 50 a.m. Thursday: The Davidson County Health Department announced Thursday that Ottendorf Labratories, LLC will provide free coronavirus tests at the Davidson County Fairgrounds.The testing center, located at 400 Greensboro St., Lexington, will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointments will be needed.2:45 p.m. Wednesday: Novant Health announced three Novant Health Express at Walgreens will open in North Carolina, with one of them opening in Winston-Salem.The healthcare company said it will open at the location on 1712 S. Stratford Road in Winston-Salem.At this time, COVID-19 vaccinations will not be offered at this site.Novant Health is excited to partner with Walgreens as this will help us make healthcare more convenient, affordable and accessible, said Dr. Pam Oliver, executive vice president and president of Novant Health Physician Network. Our new clinics at Walgreens create an additional venue for Novant Health to support and care for community members with chronic conditions as well as expand access to quality care for minor illnesses and injuries. 9:45 p.m. Tuesday: Walgreens announces plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines at 300 locations in North Carolina, thanks to a federal program.The CDC will allot more than 31,000 doses across the state. Vaccinations will begin Feb. 12.2:30 p.m. Tuesday: Gov. Roy Cooper and top state education leaders are urging on North Carolina's K-12 school districts to allow in-person instruction for all students. Cooper joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom. Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal, Cooper said. We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place. Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity. The states public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools, Cohen said. Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open. Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission. In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease. Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies, Truitt said. For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolinas students cannot lose any more time. Resources:

Here you can find up-to-the-minute information on the coronavirus in the Piedmont Triad, North Carolina and the surrounding region.

Click the video player above for the latest information from North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

4:05 p.m. Friday: The Alamance County Health Department will now offer coronavirus vaccinations to people who are 65 years and older, in coordination with the NCDHHS guidelines.

3:30 p.m. Friday: The Forsyth County Health Department will start registration for 900 new appointments at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6. The appointments are for Feb. 11 through Feb. 13.

To schedule online, click here.

1:50 p.m. Friday: The Forsyth County District Court will change the way it works for cases on the docket for the first time starting Monday because of coronavirus.

A new ADVISE court, located on the Main Street (second floor) entrance of the Hall of Justice, will be where people are seen for their first time on the docket.

During the pandemic, a limited number of people will be let in the building at one time, so people will most likely have to wait in a social-distanced line outside of the building for admittance.

With weather conditions, people are strongly urged to dress appropriately and avoid bringing small children, "as the wait time outdoors could be relatively significant, given the number of people needing to be advised and the small number of individuals that will be allowed into the building at once," according to Chief District Court Judge Lisa Menefee.

Masks will be required both in the building and while people are waiting in line outside.

Individuals who have an attorney before the scheduled ADVISE court date do not have to be present, as attorneys can notify the office ahead of the date and secure a new court date on their behalf.

1:35 p.m. Friday: NCDHHS reported 113 new deaths Friday as the number of patients in the hospital continues to trend downward.

12:30 p.m. Friday: The Guilford County Health Department will start registration for 3,800 new appointments on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 8 a.m.

The county is following NCDHHS guidelines of offering vaccinations to people 65 years and older as part of groups 1 and 2.

To schedule an appointment, click here or call 336-641-7944 (Option 2) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vaccine clinics are being held at:

6:50 p.m. Thursday: A North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women Offender who tested positive for the coronavirus died Thursday.

We are working hard to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our prisons. The health and safety of the staff and the offender population continues to be our top priority, said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons.

The person tested positive on Dec. 24, was hospitalized on Jan. 3 and her condition worsened, officials said. She was a female in her early 70s with underlying health conditions.

6 p.m. Thursday: While Wake Forest Baptist Health emergency medicine physicians Dr. Jennifer Hannum and Dr. Manoj Pariyadath always watched the Super Bowl together, they've never attended the game in person -- until now.

Drs. Hannum, Dr. Pariyadath, and eight of their friends are part of a group of 7,500 vaccinated health care workers in the U.S. personally invited by the NFL to go to Super Bowl LV, which is Sunday in Tampa, Florida at Raymond James Stadium.

Both WFBH doctors said they feel comfortable traveling to and attending the game.

"We looked into what the NFL was doing and the safety precautions and measures they were affording us and we felt good about it," said Dr. Hannum, who added it was another doctor in the group who personally wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explaining their Super Bowl tradition and hoping they would be among those chosen to go.

Click the link below to read more.

3:45 p.m. Thursday: Gov. Roy Cooper outlined a $4 billion budget plan Thursday to use COVID-19 relief funds for immediate needs and state resources during the coronavirus pandemic.

This plan would be a part of the bill that passed in the House Thursday, according to Cooper's press conference.

I appreciate the work of legislators to quickly pass vital relief as the state responded to the pandemic last year and I believe we can work together to get the job done again," Gov. Cooper said." Our communities and people face serious challenges and we must come together to identify areas of common ground and help our people beat the pandemic and thrive once again."

According to Gov. Cooper, federal funds would go toward:

Cooper said the state's budget remains strong, and he also recommends:

Click the link below to watch the full press conference.

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3:15 p.m. Thursday: NCDHHS reported 150 new coronavirus-related deaths Thursday as other data trends downward.

2:45 p.m. Thursday: The House unanimously approved a coronavirus relief bill Thursday that sends federal money approved by Congress in December to schools for reopening, public health officials distributing the vaccine and residents struggling to pay their rent.

The bill also extends the Extra Credit grants for parts who didn't take advantage of the stimulus opportunity in 2020.

Click the link below to learn more.

2:40 p.m. Thursday: North Carolina senators gave preliminary approval for a bill Thursday that would require school districts in the state to offer at least partial in-person instruction for all K-12 public school students.

Senate Bill 37, which was proposed by state Sens. Deanna Ballard, Michael Lee and Ralph Hise, would still allow parents to utilize an online-only option for their child.

Click the link below to read more.

1:45 p.m. Thursday: Gov. Roy Cooper is giving a coronavirus update at 3 p.m. to discuss the state's vaccine efforts and emergency budget supplement options.

This will be streamed live on our Facebook and Twitter pages, WXII on TV, and in the lead video of this article.

12:45 p.m. Thursday: North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt presented her vision and priorities to the State Board of Education Thursday to transform public education during the coronavirus.

Truitt noted literacy, testing and accountability, and human capital will guide the Department of Public Instruction to address learning loss during the pandemic and make sure every student has a highly qualified teacher and education.

Truitt addressed the three priorities in the following statement:

12:10 p.m. Thursday: Multiple employees at Tyson Foods received their coronavirus vaccine from health officials at the Wilkesboro facility. This is part of the eligibility of Group 2 for North Carolina, including people who are older than 65.

11:55 a.m. Thursday: Dr. Christopher Ohl, an infectious disease expert at Wake Forest Baptist Health, gave an update on the coronavirus in the Triad Thursday.

He said he is concerned that people are letting their guard down when they should be putting it back up because of coronavirus variants.

"Its more important than ever actually to pay attention than ever to those details, Dr. Ohl said in regards to the 3 Ws.

He said he has gotten a lot of questions about double masking, but reminded people that masking is to protect others rather than yourself. If you really are looking to protect yourself, you should consider a surgical mask, N-95 mask, or wearing a mask and a face shield.

As for what he does, Dr. Ohl said he wears a double-lined, strong, form-fitting cloth mask on his nose and mouth. He doesn't see a need at this time to double mask.

The major risk is when taking the mask on and off with your hands, because most people don't do it properly or wash their hands beforehand.

When it comes to vaccines, Dr. Ohl said there is no reason at this time that pregnant people or women who are breastfeeding cannot get the shot. Those who have had COVID-19, but are no longer symptomatic can get the shot, but can also wait about three months because of antibodies if they want to let others who may have more of risk ahead of them in line.

Once you have had the coronavirus or are vaccinated, Dr. Ohl stressed that it is not a free-for-all and people still need to take precautions. While there is more of an immunity to the virus, there is no data of whether a person can still transmit the disease at this time.

11:20 a.m. Thursday: Hope Fest 4 Hunger, a multicultural dance festival, is going virtual in 2021.

The premiere of "Dances for a Pandemic" will be streamed at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28. for free with donations going to fight local hunger with Greensboro Urban Ministry and A Simple Gesture.

The dances will include African, Cambodian, Hindu, Irish, Latin, and Native American cultures.

10: 50 a.m. Thursday: The Davidson County Health Department announced Thursday that Ottendorf Labratories, LLC will provide free coronavirus tests at the Davidson County Fairgrounds.

The testing center, located at 400 Greensboro St., Lexington, will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointments will be needed.

2:45 p.m. Wednesday: Novant Health announced three Novant Health Express at Walgreens will open in North Carolina, with one of them opening in Winston-Salem.

The healthcare company said it will open at the location on 1712 S. Stratford Road in Winston-Salem.

At this time, COVID-19 vaccinations will not be offered at this site.

Novant Health is excited to partner with Walgreens as this will help us make healthcare more convenient, affordable and accessible, said Dr. Pam Oliver, executive vice president and president of Novant Health Physician Network. Our new clinics at Walgreens create an additional venue for Novant Health to support and care for community members with chronic conditions as well as expand access to quality care for minor illnesses and injuries.

9:45 p.m. Tuesday: Walgreens announces plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines at 300 locations in North Carolina, thanks to a federal program.

The CDC will allot more than 31,000 doses across the state. Vaccinations will begin Feb. 12.

2:30 p.m. Tuesday: Gov. Roy Cooper and top state education leaders are urging on North Carolina's K-12 school districts to allow in-person instruction for all students.

Cooper joined North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and State Board of Education Chair Eric Davis to thank educators for their extraordinary work during an unprecedented time, to highlight ongoing research that shows that with proper mitigation measures, in-person learning is safe, and to emphasize the critical importance of ensuring all students have an opportunity to learn in a classroom.

Protecting the health and safety of the people of this state, especially our children and our teachers, has been our goal, Cooper said. We know school is important for reasons beyond academic instruction. School is where students learn social skills, get reliable meals, and find their voices. Research done right here in North Carolina tells us that in-person learning is working and that students can be in classrooms safely with the right safety protocols in place.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, state leaders have emphasized the importance of returning students to in-person learning as quickly and safely as possible. Children who rely solely on remote instruction are feeling the negative effects of isolation, including learning loss, mental health challenges and food insecurity.

The states public health toolkit details specific health and safety protocols K-12 schools must implement to keep students and teachers safe during in-person instruction.

Even with the thousands of students and teachers attending school in-person across the state, we have seen few COVID-19 clusters in our public schools, Cohen said. Our Department will continue to serve our school communities, offering resources and support so we can keep our school doors open.

Increasing evidence suggests that, with prevention measures in place, there are low rates of COVID-19 transmission in primary and secondary school settings even with high rates of community transmission.

In addition, ongoing medical studies and peer-reviewed data affirm that children infected with COVID-19 generally have mild or no symptoms, and are less likely to spread the disease.

Learning loss resulting from COVID has the potential to be a generational hurdle, but the data we have seen shows us that schools can reopen safely if they adhere to COVID prevention policies, Truitt said. For many schools, the logistics of returning to in-person instruction five days per week will be a challenge, but this is absolutely a challenge we must face head on so that all students have a chance to fulfill their potential. With strong prevention measures in place, and the scientific research to back them, now is the time to act. North Carolinas students cannot lose any more time.

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LIVE BLOG: North Carolina bills for COVID-19 relief, mandatory in-person schooling working through General Assembly - WXII12 Winston-Salem

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