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NC Coronavirus update August 18: Gov. Roy Cooper to give COVID update this afternoon as state reports increasing cases among kids - WTVD-TV

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina, like many other states across the country, is seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

WATCH: Dr. Alexa Mieses-Malchuck answers common questions parents have about their children returning to class.

12:30 p.m. North Carolina reports 7,020 new COVID-19 cases, but the daily percent positive rate actually went down.

Daily positive cases have not reached 7,000 since Feb. 1. Yesterday's metrics reported 5,256 new cases. This same day last year, North Carolina reported 1,218 new cases.

However, despite the jump in cases, the rate of positive cases actually dropped from 13.2% to 12.3%--meaning the state saw a jump in the total number of tests completed.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus jumped from 2,930 yesterday to 3,083 today. That's the most since Jan. 28.

There were also 53 more people who died from the virus.

9:20 a.m. Just a week into the school year, over 10,000 students and staff in the Hillsborough County Public Schools district in Florida have been isolated or quarantined as districts across the state grapple with COVID-19.

Hillsborough is the seventh-largest school district in the U.S., with more than 213,000 students. As of Wednesday, 10,384 students and 338 staffers are isolated or under quarantine, the district told ABC News.

In total, there were 1,805 COVID-19 cases among students and staff, according to the Tampa-area district's COVID-19 dashboard.

Read the full story here.

THURSDAY MORNING HEADLINES NCDHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen said North Carolina hospitals are strained with every county in the state seeing high levels of transmission.

New mask mandates take effect in five Wake County towns starting Friday morning.

The mandate includes unincorporated areas of the county as well as Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon.

Fayetteville is also reinstating an indoor mask mandate. That goes into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

Nursing homes and residential care facilities are once again struggling with the pandemic. In North Carolina, nearly 200 ongoing outbreaks are happening at those facilities.

The Biden Administration announced it would begin requiring those facilities that participate in medicare or medicaid to have all of their workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or risk losing federal funding.

WEDNESDAY 6:32 p.m. Fayetteville Mayor Mitch Colvin signed a mask mandate that will go into effect Friday at 5 p.m.

The mandate requires people to wear a face covering in public or private indoor spaces, including grocery stores, restaurants, gyms and other businesses.

There are exceptions to the mandate. Children younger than 2 are not required to have a face covering, for example. Other medical or religious exemptions may also apply.

5:14 p.m. Beginning Monday at 8 a.m., masks will be required for employees and visitors in all Wayne County facilities.

The Wayne County Board of Commissioner met Tuesday and passed the mask mandate motion.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at the Wayne County Health Department, and appointments are available by clicking here. Residents who receive the first dose of their vaccine are eligible to receive a $100 gift card, and anyone who drives someone to receive their vaccine can receive $25.

4:13 p.m. Wake County and five local municipalities made the decision Wednesday to enact a mask mandate.

Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Matt Calabria is signing the declaration Wednesday afternoon and it will go into effect at 7 a.m. on Friday.

Under Wake County's State of Emergency, the mask mandate will require people, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a face-covering inside public places such as grocery stores, restaurants and retail shops.

The restrictions apply to the unincorporated areas of the county, as well as the towns of Garner, Knightdale, Morrisville, Rolesville and Zebulon.

Those towns join Raleigh and Cary, which have implemented mask mandates.

"The virus is surging through our community, and it's our responsibility to take appropriate steps to protect public health and safety," Calabria said. "Science shows wearing a mask reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19, making it one of our greatest weapons in the fight against this harmful virus. Prompt action now will prevent the need for further restrictions and enable us to beat the virus more quickly."

In addition to wearing masks, Wake County Public Health is urging residents to get vaccinated. No-cost COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone 12 and older at more than 200 providers in Wake County by appointment or walk-in. No ID is required. Check out the clinic schedule here.

"With local hospitals reaching critical capacity levels, it's important that residents do their part to keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed," said Dr. José Cabañas, Wake County's Chief Medical Officer. "Wearing a mask is a simple step we can all take to protect the health of our loved ones, especially children who aren't old enough to get the vaccine."

4 p.m. Wake County Public Health has confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at Chatham Commons, an assisted living facility at 809 W. Chatham St. in Cary.

This is the facility's second outbreak. The previous outbreak occurred in January. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as two or more people - residents or employees - testing positive for the virus.

3 p.m. Gov. Roy Cooper gave a COVID-19 update and also talked about the flooding in western North Carolina in the wake of rain from tropical system Fred.

Cooper said he has declared a State of Emergency for the area where search-and-rescue efforts are ongoing.

Speaking on the pandemic, Cooper announced the final winners of the state's vaccine lottery.

Cooper said the final winner of the $1 million cash drawing was Lilly Fowler, from East Bend in Yadkin County. She is a senior at NC State.

Fowler said she was pretty frugal and hoped to save to buy a house. She said she does want to take her cousin to Walt Disney World.

"Going into my senior year of college, I was headed to Raleigh and was worried about the number of people living there compared to where I live. So, I decided to get the vaccine," Fowler said. "I take care of my baby sister a lot of the time and my grandmother. So, getting the vaccine is going to help not to bring anything home to them."

The final $125,000 scholarship winner was 15-year-old Breelyn Dean of Garner, a rising high school sophomore with a 4.0 GPA.

Dean said she wants to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"I hate needles, and I was already scared but I knew we had to do this," Breelyn said. "My family all went together for moral support because they hate needles too. Even if you're unsure, I would still get it because it helps you and other people."

Cooper invited Live Nation's Jeannine Benson to speak, and she announced that beginning Oct. 4, proof of vaccinations or negative tests will be required at all of Live Nation's live music venues.

"Live Nation is committed to finding the best ways for shows to continue and to bring live music back to North Carolina," said Benson, Vice President of Regional Venue Operations at Live Nation. "We are working to ensure that we are continuing to do shows in the best way for staff, artists, crew members, fans and our community. We are looking forward to continuing to bring the magic of live music to North Carolina."

The governor also stressed his preference that students wear masks in schools. He noted many school districts have already implemented face coverings and other health measures.

"Requiring masks in schools will help keep students learning in the classroom while helping to keep COVID out," Cooper said. "We want schools to educate children, not become hotspots for the virus, and I commend the school leaders who are looking out for the health of their students and staff."

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the state health secretary, joined Cooper in urging people to get vaccinated.

"This is not where we want to be," Cooper said. "But we have a sure way out -- vaccines."

Cooper said he has asked the President to authorize more National Guard help.

"It's encouraging that our state's vaccine rate has increased in recent weeks. We need to double down on that progress," the governor said. "Talk with your friends and family about why it's important for all of us to get our shots."

Cooper said that though North Carolina has made progress with vaccinations in recent weeks, there is still more work to be done. As the state's metrics continue to show the virus spread increasing, state health officials pushed vaccinations and the wearing of face coverings.

"Layered protection is crucial to save lives, ensure our hospitals can provide care to those who need it, and fight this more contagious Delta variant. To weather the storm - vax up, mask up and urge others to do the same," Cohen said.

11:55 a.m. North Carolina health officials are reporting 5,256 new cases of COVID-19 with a 13.2% positive test rate.

Throughout the state, 2,930 patients are being hospitalized with the virus. That is 102 more than Tuesday.

Throughout North Carolina, 13,952 people have died from COVID. 57 more deaths were reported on Wednesday.

NCDHHS reports 63 percent of adult North Carolinians have received as least one COVID vaccine dose.

11:20 a.m. U.S. health officials Wednesday recommended all Americans get COVID-19 booster shots to shore up their protection amid the surging delta variant and evidence that the vaccines' effectiveness is falling.

The plan, as outlined by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other top authorities, calls for an extra dose eight months after people get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The doses could begin the week of Sept. 20.

WEDNESDAY MORNING HEADLINES Gov. Roy Cooper will talk Wednesday afternoon about the ongoing COVID-19 surge in North Carolina, especially among children.

NCDHHS reports 6,000 kids tested positive for COVID-19 last week. That's up from about 5,600 the week before. The same report showed 19 COVID-19 clusters in K-12 schools and 31 clusters in child care centers--a massive jump from just 9 three weeks ago.

WATCH: Granville County mourns death of teen to COVID-19

The metrics are especially concerning for parents of children under 12, who are still not eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"I am a little concerned just because she is too young for the vaccination. She has to wear a mask every day. I'm just not sure how the kids are going to do honestly," Kara Lewis said.

This comes less than a week before the start of school for the majority of students in North Carolina's largest school district. Wake County Public School System continues to tout its COVID-19 protocols, saying it will do everything possible to keep students safe and in the classroom.

Masks are mandatory regardless of vaccination status, lunchtimes have been shortened and will be done with as little talking as possible, and seating charts are required throughout schools to allow for easier contact tracing.

Wayne County Public Schools is changing course--now requiring all students and staff to wear masks while indoor.

Classes at UNC will begin today for the fall semester. Some faculty and staff spent the first half of the week trying to get school leaders to delay the start of in-person classes because of the COVID-19 surge.

Instead, UNC is requiring students and staff to either be fully vaccinated or get tested regularly. Masks are also required indoors for everybody.

Anyone going to a Carolina Panthers football game this year will be required to wear masks in all indoor spaces. That same policy will be in place for the two college football games scheduled at Bank of America Stadium this year.

Plus, Moore County is now requiring masks for anyone entering government buildings.

And finally, the Town of Cary's indoor mask mandate goes into effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

WATCH: How Raleigh businesses are enforcing the mask mandate

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