COVID-19 News & Updates

The COVID-19 outbreak has been accompanied by a flood of misinformation from unreliable sources. Be thoughtful about what you read or hear about the virus and make sure you are separating rumor from fact before you act. Below are the latest updates from the state of North Carolina.

Nov. 19, 2021

Nov. 3, 2021

  • Children ages 5 to 11 can now receive a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized a lower dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children in this age group, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend all children 5–11 get the vaccine to protect against serious illness and help keep them healthy. 

Past Updates

October 2021

October 2021

Oct. 27, 2021

  • The latest numbers from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services show that North Carolina has administered more than 11.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 66% of the adult population fully vaccinated. Seventy-one percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 92% of North Carolinians 65 and over."    
  • We are grateful to see this latest surge in COVID-19 taper off,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “And as we try to drive down our numbers, we know what works. Vaccines. The more people who get their shots, the less COVID we’ll have."

Oct. 25, 2021

  • The  $25 Summer Card pilot program operated by N.C. Department of Health and Human Services was successful in encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations, according to a published research letter by authors from NCDHHS, the Advanced Center for COVID-19 Related Disparities at the Julius L. Chambers Biomedical Biotechnology Research Institute at North Carolina Central University, and the Departments of Biostatistics and of Health Behavior at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Oct. 22, 2021

  • COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are now available for more North Carolinians. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized – and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends  – Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shots to help strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19 infections. 
  • Pfizer-BioNTech (COMINARTY) booster shots have been available since Sept. 24 for North Carolinians at high risk for serious illness or exposure and who received their second dose at least six months ago.

Oct. 20, 2021

  • The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program marked its Oct. 15 one-year anniversary with $520.2 million in pandemic relief funds awarded to North Carolina landlords and utility companies on behalf of 135,213 families. More than $461 million of that amount has already been paid to landlords and utility providers across the state.
  • The HOPE Program continues to rank No. 2 in the nation for number of households served, while North Carolina overall ranks No. 6 for spending of federal Emergency Rental Assistance money. 

Oct. 19, 2021

  • As COVID-19 cases surged this summer fueled by the Delta variant, hospitalizations and deaths among residents in North Carolina long-term care facilities were significantly lower than during the winter surge, as shown in data from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The decrease in cases and severe illness can be attributed to vaccination for residents and staff of long-term care facilities and to the work done by long-term care providers to implement measures to protect staff and residents from COVID-19.

Oct. 1, 2021

  • Beginning Oct. 4, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Support Services Program, along with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina will provide food assistance to North Carolinians in 34 counties who face food insecurity resulting from the need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19. Additionally, NCDHHS is expanding program eligibility to North Carolinians in those counties who are at high risk for severe illness due to COVID-19.
September 2021

September 2021

Sept. 24, 2021

  • North Carolinians at high risk for serious illness or exposure who have been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech (COMINARTY) COVID-19 vaccine for six months or more can now receive a booster shot.

Sept. 21, 2021

  • In an open letter to faith leaders, Gov. Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen asked for the faith community’s help reaching North Carolinians who have not yet been vaccinated. The letter outlines three actions that faith leaders can take, including directing their congregation and faith community to trustworthy sources about COVID-19 vaccines, serving as vaccine ambassadors and hosting vaccination events.
  • North Carolina has administered more than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 63% of the adult population fully vaccinated. Sixty-eight percent of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, including 90% of North Carolinians 65 and over.

Sept. 17, 2021

Sept. 13, 2021

Sept. 8, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 clusters among school sports teams. From July 1, 2021, to  Sept. 2, 2021, clusters among school sports teams accounted for 45% of all clusters in North Carolina middle and high schools, despite most school sports activities not beginning until August as schools began the fall semester. School sports teams are urged to follow NCDHHS guidance for youth sports.

Sept. 2, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order to make it easier for North Carolinians to access treatment for COVID-19. The executive order authorizes and directs State Health Director Dr. Betsey Tilson to issue a statewide standing order to expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment, which if taken early, can decrease the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death. The order will be in effect through Nov. 30, 2021.
August 2021

August 2021

Aug. 27, 2021

Aug. 23, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has launched – a website dedicated to providing teens with the information, tools and resources they need to educate themselves, their friends and their family members about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which Pfizer is calling Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The Pfizer vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization for teens 12-15. 

Aug. 16, 2021

Aug. 13, 2021

Aug. 10, 2021

  • North Carolina experienced the largest single-day jump in hospital ICU admissions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced. Weekly COVID-19 hospitalizations among people ages 20-49 are at an all-time high.
  • Due to the highly contagious Delta variant, North Carolina’s other key COVID-19 metrics are also increasing, including the percent of tests that are positive – which has been more than 10% for the past week. There have been 31,036 cases reported over the past seven days compared to 19,911 cases in the preceding seven days – a 56% increase – and hospitalizations have more than doubled since July 27 and are at the highest they have been since Feb. 11, 2021. In addition, the CDC’s Community Transmission Map shows nearly all North Carolina counties are experiencing substantial to high community transmission.

Aug. 3, 2021

  • To help more North Carolinians protect themselves against COVID-19 and the highly contagious Delta variant, the state is offering $100 Summer Cards at some vaccine sites across the state to offset the time and transportation costs of getting vaccinated. The cards are available to anyone 18 and older who gets their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a participating site – while supplies last.
  • North Carolina continues to offer $25 Summer Cards to those who drive others to their vaccination appointment.
July 2021

July 2021

July 29, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper announced that state government will begin the verifying vaccination status of state employees at cabinet-level agencies and require unvaccinated employees to wear a mask and be tested weekly under Executive Order 224. (View FAQs)
  • The announcement comes as North Carolina's latest upswing in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is driven by unvaccinated people.
  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services updated guidancem, encouraging private-sector businesses to, at a minimum, verify vaccination status for their workers as well. 
  • Additionally, in accordance with the updated CDC guidance, all K-12 schools should require universal masking, regardless of vaccination status. NCDHHS is updating its guidance for schools to align with this recommendation.

July 23, 2021

  • After months of decline, North Carolina is experiencing a rapid increase in COVID-19 spread among those who are unvaccinated. On Thursday, 1,998 cases were reported to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, and 817 people are hospitalized with 132 admitted in the past 24 hours. There have been 9,053 cases reported over the past seven days compared to 5,441 cases in the preceding seven days – a 66% increase – and hospitalizations doubled since July 9 and are at the highest rate they have been since May 11.

July 21, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has updated public health guidance for K-12 schools for the upcoming school year. The updated StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit, which is effective July 30, says schools with students in kindergarten through eighth grade should require all children and staff to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Schools with students in ninth through 12th grades should ensure that anyone who isn’t fully vaccinated, including students, wear a mask indoors.

July 20, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to people with limited mobility who cannot leave their home. The At-Home Vaccination Hotline, at 1-866-303-0026, allows caregivers, providers and individuals across North Carolina to schedule an at-home vaccination. An online registration form is also available at

July 15, 2021

July 8, 2021

June 2021

June 2021

Friday, June 25, 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

  • North Carolina Medicaid providers can now be reimbursed for up to 15 minutes for preventive medicine counseling and/or risk factor reduction intervention provided to an individual related to COVID-19 vaccination when provided to Medicaid beneficiaries.

Tuesday, June 23, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

  • Getting a vaccine is the best way for people to protect themselves from COVID-19, as a more dangerous "variant of concern" that is rapidly spreading in the United States, including in North Carolina. The new Delta variant also poses a possible increased risk of hospitalization. The currently available COVID-19 vaccines are the best protection against the virus and its variants, and rigorous clinicals trials have proven the vaccines are safe and effective against all circulating variants.

  • The state is expanding availability of its at-home COVID-19 test collection, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced. Any North Carolina resident may receive a Pixel by Labcorp® COVID-19 PCR Test Home Collection Kit that is shipped overnight directly to their homes at no cost. Tests can be used on people age 2 and up.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is launching an expanded COVID-19 screening testing program to support public, charter and private K-12 schools in protecting students and staff from the spread of COVID-19. The program will launch in fall 2021, and schools can register to participate beginning in early July.

Friday, June 11, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order extending until July 30 a variety of measures currently in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • While the governor has consistently eased restrictions as trends have improved, a state of emergency remains in effect as North Carolina emerges from the pandemic.
  • The governor and state health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s trends and review actions of other states and plan to continue lifting restrictions as more people are vaccinated and the state winds down pandemic response efforts.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

  • To encourage more North Carolinians to receive COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Roy Cooper announced $4 million summer cash and college tuition drawings to motivate those who have not yet been vaccinated – and to thank those who have. Four vaccinated North Carolinians 18 and older will win $1 million each and four North Carolinians ages 12 to 17 will win tuition for post-secondary education.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

  • North Carolina has been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to continue the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food assistance program through summer 2021. The P-EBT program helps families with eligible children whose access to free or reduced-price meals at school or other food assistance has been impacted by COVID-19. Summer P-EBT is an extension of benefits for the 2020-2021 school year.

  • The N.C. Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program is now open for a second application period to assist very low-income renters that are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. The HOPE Program provides rent and utility bill assistance to prevent evictions and utility disconnections. Complete details about the HOPE Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits and an online application, are available at or by calling (888) 927-5467.
  • To date, more than 8.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in North Carolina, with 54.3% of adults partially vaccinated and 49.2% of adults fully vaccinated, N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen, said. Of the 65 and older population, 79.9% have been partially vaccinated.
May 2021

May 2021

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Monday, May 24, 2021

Friday, May 21, 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Friday, May 14, 2021

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Thursday, May 6, 2021

  • More than 50% of adults 18 and older in North Carolina have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported. More than 43% of the adult population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

  • To date, the state has administered more than 7.4 million vaccines. More than 74% of the population over 65 years of age is fully vaccinated, and nearly 40% of the total population of the state, regardless of age, has received at least one dose.
April 2021

April 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order, effective 5 p.m. Friday, April 30, that lifts the state's outdoor face mask requirement and increases indoor and outdoor mass gathering limits to 100 and 200 respectively. Executive Order 209 continues to require face masks in indoor public settings as well as strong safety requirements concerning social distancing and capacity limits.

  • Echoing his statement last week, the governor said at a news conference that he anticipates lifting by June 1 mass gathering, social distancing and mandatory capacity restrictions. He also said he still plans to lift the state's mask mandate completely once at least two-thirds of all adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Monday, April 26, 2021

  • In his third State of the State address, Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday, highlighted North Carolinians’ resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and reinforced the need for legislators to work together to help the state rebuild from the pandemic even stronger by expanding Medicaid, raising teacher pay, investing in work force training and solidifying the state’s infrastructure. “I believe that North Carolina is strong, resilient and ready to face the challenges of the future,” he said. “I believe that we will rebuild from this pandemic to be even stronger than before. And I believe that we can roar into the future together, creating a shared recovery that ensures our best days lie ahead.”

Friday, April 24, 2021

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

  • With stable trends and continued vaccination success, Gov. Roy Cooper laid out a timeline for lifting mandatory social distancing, capacity and mass gathering restrictions by June 1. The governor plans to issue an executive order next week outlining safety restrictions for May.

  • North Carolina has administered more than 6.5 million vaccines – 46.9% of adults are at least partially vaccinated, and 35.1% are fully vaccinated. More than 76% of people 65 and older have had at least one shot.
  • With vaccine now widely available across the state – often with no wait for an appointment – all North Carolinians 16 and older can plan to be vaccinated. The state anticipates lifting the mask mandate and easing other public health recommendations, once two-thirds of North Carolina adults have received at least one vaccine dose and if trends remain stable.
  • State health officials are continuing to monitor the presence of COVID-19 and its more contagious variants in North Carolina, which is why it is important to continue to follow the state’s mask mandate and continue to practice safety precautions, including the 3Ws –wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash hands often.

Monday, April 19, 2021

  • Although appointments are encouraged and available online at or by phone at 888-675-4567, walk-in and drive-up vaccines are now available without appointment at the federally supported COVID-19 vaccination center in Greensboro. Since opening March 10, more than 100,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered.

  • The vaccination clinic at Four Seasons Town Centre, which will remain open until May 27, has been successful in reaching underserved communities, with more than 22% having gone to Black or African-American individuals (who make up 23% of North Carolina’s population) and more than 15% to people from Hispanic/LatinX communities (who make up nealry 10% of the state’s population).

Friday, April 16, 2021

  • The latest data from North Carolina's COVID-19 County Alert System shows one red county — an increase from zero on April 1 — 20 orange counties (previously 21), 48 yellow counties (previously 47), 30 light yellow counties (previously 31) and one green county (previously one). These updates account for 18 counties having moved up a tier (toward red) since the last report, 19 counties having moved down a tier (toward green) and 63 counties remaining in the same tier.

  • North Carolina’s key metrics show a leveling of COVID-19 trends after several weeks of decline. Although levels are far below the post-holiday peak in January, most of the state continues to experience significant or substantial community spread with concerning increases in younger adult age groups.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

  • Anyone 16 years and older who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination is eligible to get one, beginning April 7.
  • North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered more than 5.2 million doses – 39% of those 18 and up is at least partially vaccinated, and 26% of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.
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