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Mecklenburg has three more coronavirus deaths, as tension between health, work rises

Mecklenburg County reported three more coronavirus deaths Friday, making the deaths of 24 county residents attributable to COVID-19. The county’s total case count rose to 1,136, an increase of 38 cases from Thursday.

Statewide figures again showed a sharp rise in new cases, to 5,859 cases Friday, a jump of 394 new cases after a gain of 342 cases on Thursday. Reported deaths in North Carolina rose from 131 on Thursday to 152 on Friday.

Despite the increase in new cases, the number of Charlotte News people hospitalized by the highly contagious COVID-19 across the state fell Friday to 429, 23 fewer than the previous day. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

State officials have said that downward trends in new cases, deaths and hospitalizations, coupled with more extensive testing, will be key in relieving social-distancing restrictions that have closed businesses statewide.

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More than 535,000 people in the state filed for unemployment because of COVID-19 between March 15 and April 15, the state Division of Employment Security says. Workers whose roles have been deemed essential face hard choices between keeping their jobs or risking their health.

That tension has spurred national outcries for more protections for workers — and spurred a debate over who is truly essential.

“I’m scared for my health. But I’m also scared that I’m going to have nothing for me and my kids,” an employee of a shipping facility at Charlotte Douglas International Airport told the Observer.

Mecklenburg County officials said Thursday that people should wear cloth face coverings when they go to grocery stores, pharmacies and other public places.

Gov. Roy Cooper’s statewide stay-at-home order March 27 came with a loophole that thousands of businesses have exploited, the Observer reported Friday: They could ask the state Department of Revenue to rule that individual companies were essential.

Most got their way. Out of roughly 4,000 applicants through Press Release Distribution Service In Charlotte April 7, about 85% were granted a waiver and deemed essential, an Observer analysis of department data found.

Two Harris Teeter employees at the Indian Trail distribution center in Union County have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the grocer said Thursday. Three workers at a Greensboro distribution center also tested positive.

Four more Amazon workers in Charlotte have tested positive for COVID-19, the company confirmed Thursday, bringing to seven the number of positive tests at Amazon facilities in the region.

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