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North Carolina surpasses 3,900 coronavirus cases

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Another 257 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in North Carolina, pushing the total number cases in the state above 3,900, health officials in North Carolina said Friday.

The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services said the state now has 3,908 cases with 74 deaths since the initial case was discovered on March 3. The agency said there are 423 people hospitalized with the coronavirus.

Of the total number of deaths, Mecklenburg County has 10 and Guilford County has nine, according to NCDHHS.

Jones County health officials reported their first death Friday. A news release from the agency identified the victim as a person in their 70’s with underlying medical conditions. The health department provided no additional information on the victim.

News sources reported health officials in Craven, Stanly, Dare and Edgecombe counties reported their first deaths due to COVID-19.

The latest report comes one day after Gov. Roy Cooper announced North Carolina groceries and other retailers must meet capacity restrictions and cleanliness standards if they want to keep operating under expanding social distance directives set to take effect on Monday at 5 p.m.

Under Cooper’s new executive order, retailers, pharmacies and other businesses will have to limit entry so that occupancy can’t be more than 20% of their fire-code capacity, or above 5 customers per 1,000 square feet. Retailers also will have to mark out 6 feet of spacing in cashier lines and high-traffic areas.

The retail rules are to last for 30 days. They also require frequent and routine cleaning of “high-touch” areas.

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