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.

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.

Past Updates

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.
March 2021

March 2021

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper extended three executive orders on evictions moratoriums, processing unemployment benefits and to-go cocktails that will continue to provide relief to families and economic support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Executive Order 205 extends the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s authorization to permit the delivery or carry-out of mixed beverages as an alternative to on-site consumption through April 30, 2021.
  • Executive Order 206 extends North Carolina’s statewide residential eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021, in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent extension of the nationwide moratorium through the same date. 
  • Executive Order 207 expedites the processing of unemployment insurance claims and is also effective through June 30, 2021.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

  • Citing more supply than anticipated, Gov. Roy Cooper announced an accelerated timeline for all North Carolina adults to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The remainder of Group 4 – who were previously eligible on April 7 – can begin receiving doses on March 31. Those in Group 5 will become eligible on April 7.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

  • Gov. Roy Cooper announced that the state will continue to ease some COVID-19 restrictions under Executive Order 204, which becomes effective March 26 at 5 p.m. The order keeps the state’s general mask mandate in place but fully lifts the 11 p.m. curfew for on-site service of alcohol, increases mass gathering limits and increases occupancy limits in museums and aquariums, retail businesses and shops, barbershops, salons, restaurants, breweries, gyms, bars, sports arenas and other public places.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

  • Wednesday marked the opening of vaccine eligibility for people in Group 4 who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk for severe illness or who live in certain congregate settings.
  • North Carolina continues to focus on distributing vaccines quickly and equitably. To date, the state has administered more than 3.4 million doses – 25.7% of those 18 and up is at least partially vaccinated and 16.5% of those 18 and up have been fully vaccinated.
  • Gov. Cooper and Secretary Cohen also discussed state health officials’ ongoing efforts to monitor the presence of COVID-19 variants and stressed the importance of continuing with safety precautions across the state. Recent data shows an increase in these more contagious variants among those infected in North Carolina. People should continue to protect themselves and those around them by practicing the 3 Ws – wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash hands often.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Thursday, March 11, 2021

  • Beginning March 17, people in Group 4 who have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of serious illness and people who live in certain congregate settings will be eligible for vaccination, Gov. Roy Cooper announced. The rest of Group 4, which includes other essential workers will become eligible April 7. The state was able to update its timeline based on provider feedback and expected supply. As with previous eligibility changes, some vaccine providers might not be ready to open to Group 4 on March 17 if they are still experiencing high demand for vaccines in Groups 1 through 3.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has expanded its vaccine data dashboard to provide more demographic data on people who are partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Users will be able to see vaccinations by race, ethnicity, gender and age group by county, by week and since vaccinations began.
  • Gov. Roy Cooper announced that 1.1. million people in North Carolina have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but that more work remains to provide vaccinations for the nearly 8 million adults in the state. "This is not the time to abandon our prevention efforts,” he said. “In fact, until the vaccine is widely available, preventing the spread of this virus must continue to be a focus."
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said that even though the percent of positive COVID-19 has been consistently around 5%, cases and hospitalization numbers remain elevated. “With the introduction of new variants of the COVID-19 virus that are more contagious, we need to safeguard our progress and keep protecting each other while we get everyone a spot to get their shot,” she said. “So, keep doing the three Ws for now – wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

  • New COVID-19 cases in North Carolina long-term care facilities have declined rapidly in the last several weeks. Case rates are down more than 15-fold in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and other licensed facilities since the peak of transmission in January 2021. Given the rapid decline in new cases, most facilities currently meet criteria to resume indoor visitation while continuing to follow infection prevention recommendations.
  • The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is expanding access to COVID-19 rapid testing in K-12 public schools to protect students, teachers and staff from COVID-19. When schools implement testing combined with the state's strong mitigation strategies, they can detect new cases to prevent outbreaks and reduce the risk of further transmission.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

  • Frontline essential workers in Group 3 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination beginning Wednesday, March 3, Gov. Roy Cooper announced. The expedited timeline follows federal approval of the Johnson & Johnson one-shot vaccine and an expected increase in vaccine supply to North Carolina.
  • Gov. Cooper also outlined an expected timeline for beginning Group 4 vaccinations. Beginning on March 24, people at higher risk from COVID-19, due to underlying medical conditions, will become eligible to receive a vaccine, as well as people in certain congregate-living settings.
  • A federally supported community vaccination center will open in Greensboro on March 10 with options for drive-through service and walk-in service. The center will operate seven days a week with the capacity to provide up to 3,000 vaccinations per day.

Monday, March 1, 2021

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