Mecklenburg County

Tony Mecia/Charlotte Ledger

For the first three full months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mecklenburg County paramedics responding to 911 calls found an unusually high number of dead bodies when they arrived.

New York Pastries and Pastelería staff.
Laura Brache / WFAE

Martin Rojas’ day starts at 6 a.m. when he wakes up and gets ready for another day working with his wife and business partner at his bakery New York Pastries and Pastelería on East Exmore Street in Charlotte.

house construction
Jodie Valade / WFAE

Mecklenburg County's health department said COVID-19 outbreaks in construction sites are driving an increase of cases in the Latino community.


Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first U.S. case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots.
Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / CDC

 

Mecklenburg County Public Health director Gibbie Harris said the county likely needs to double its number of daily coronavirus tests as North Carolina moves into its three-phase reopening plan.

The square at Trade and Tryon streets uptown was deserted during morning rush hour Monday.
David Boraks / WFAE

Members of Reopen Meck will gather in the streets of uptown Friday to protest the county’s stay-at-home order in place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Maya Pillay, a Davidson College student is the founder of Reopen Meck. She says the priority for the group is to get small businesses back to work.

Erin Keever / WFAE

Mecklenburg County, the city of Charlotte and six county towns agreed Tuesday to transition from the county stay-at-home order to the statewide order issued by Gov. Roy Cooper that now extends to May 8.

The slightly more lenient North Carolina order deems more businesses as "essential."

For states to reopen from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown, the Trump administration wants to see a 14-day downward trend in new infections. But North Carolina Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said Thursday that’s less important than seeing a downward trend in the test-positivity rate. The test-positivity rate is the percentage of all tests conducted that come back positive.

State of North Carolina

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's decision Thursday to extend the state's stay-at-home order until May 8 pleases Mecklenburg County officials, who asked him Wednesday to continue the restrictions.

But an increasing number of suburban towns -- and exurban counties -- near Charlotte want to go in a different direction.

Mayor John Aneralla of Huntersville
David Boraks / WFAE

Gov. Roy Cooper's decision Thursday to extend a statewide stay-at-home order until May 8 averts a showdown over whether Mecklenburg County should extend its own order. Mayors of the county's six towns disagree on how soon to reopen. 

The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the African American community is getting attention and action in Mecklenburg County. But panelists at an online forum Tuesday night say much remains to be done.

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington

 

North Carolina’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus seem to be working.

 

“We are seeing some effectiveness from the early and aggressive actions that have been taken here to control the spread of the virus,” said North Carolina state epidemiologist Zack Moore.

 

Steve Harrison/WFAE

Since Mecklenburg County's stay-at-home order began March 26, county parks have stayed open. And they’ve been a source of outrage.

Outrage over photos and videos of people playing soccer and volleyball. Over people not social distancing on greenways and sandbars.

But on Wednesday, the county closed all parking lots to greenways and parks in an attempt to limit the number of people using them.

Mecklenburg County

 


A new "stay at home" order takes effect in Mecklenburg County on Thursday at 8 a.m. It requires residents to stay home except for certain essential activities in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

WFAE received many listener questions about the order so we rounded up some answers.

 

Mecklenburg County Commissioners

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said the county, city and the six towns have agreed to issue a "stay at home" order starting at 8 a.m. Thursday.

coronavirus
University of Southern California

The Mecklenburg County Public Health Department launched a hotline for people with questions about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19.

 

Analysis: New Mecklenburg Voting Equipment Ready For Super Tuesday

Feb 22, 2020
line of voters
Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

Elections are unpredictable. Election administration does not have to be.

For example, the Bipartisan Policy Center and MIT have jointly conducted research on polling-place lines in the 2016 and 2018 elections.

MECKLENBURG COUNTY

If you think of public preschool as free child care for the poor, you’re behind the times … at least in Mecklenburg County.

The county has opened registration for next year’s Meck Pre-K classes, and some families making six-figure incomes are eligible for the free program.

FLICKR/ US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

For the last four years, Queen City Needle Exchange has handed out free sterile syringes and the opioid overdose reversal drug Naloxone. The group sets up at different clinics in the Charlotte area throughout the week and also operates a mobile unit.

What's Happening With PrEP In Mecklenburg County?

Dec 21, 2019
AIDSVU

It’s been almost a year since President Trump announced that Mecklenburg would be a target for a national initiative to eradicate new HIV diagnoses and four years since Mecklenburg County Public Health started organizing its “Getting to Zero” initiative with a similar goal.

Steve Harrison

Mecklenburg County mailed 400,000 notices to property owners Wednesday, giving them their new property valuation for 2019.

Mecklenburg Republican Commissioner Bill James, who lost a re-election bid Tuesday, has told colleagues that he won't attend any more meetings before new commissioners are sworn in next month.

A house was flooded in Columbus County.
David Boraks / WFAE

Complaints about mosquitoes are on the rise across North Carolina after Hurricane Florence. They're plentiful and in some cases a lot bigger than what we're used to. 

Sheldon Scruggs tends goats on his farm in western Mecklenburg County.
David Boraks / WFAE

Mecklenburg County has more than 230 farms, about half the number of 40 years ago. Residential and commercial development, rising land costs and urbanization are to blame. But renewed interest in local food and the growth of farmers markets offer hope for reversing the trend. Farm advocates say Voluntary Agricultural Districts could protect remaining farms, and maybe encourage more. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center.
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Mecklenburg County has a new budget that includes a tax increase and a slight boost in pay for teachers.  Commissioners approved the spending plan last night. 

North Carolina General Assembly

The North Carolina House took a final vote Tuesday on a measure that would redraw judicial electoral districts in Mecklenburg and Wake counties. It passed 70-45, with no Democrats voting for it.

GWENDOLYN GLENN/WFAE

Funding for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and a possible property tax increase are among the items likely to generate comments Monday evening during a public hearing on the proposed Mecklenburg County budget.

North Carolina General Assembly

Republican lawmakers are advancing fragments of a statewide remapping of North Carolina's judicial election districts in hopes of passing them before candidate filing for judges begins in just over two weeks.

A map on the ParkScore ranking website shows areas of Charlotte most in need of parks in red (very high) and orange (high).
Trust for Public Lands

An annual ranking of public park systems puts Charlotte near the bottom of the 100 largest US cities.  The ParkScore Index from the Trust for Public Lands ranks Charlotte and Mecklenburg County 97th, based on spending, park acreage and other factors.  

Jim Puckett sits on the Huntersville Educational Options Study Commission
Mecklenburg County

Mecklenburg County leaders are taking the first steps to determine whether the public health department should have different oversight. Commissioners voted 6-2 Tuesday night to form a committee to explore options that include creating a medical board to oversee the health department and forming an advisory board.

cyber security graphic
Flickr/Blogtrepreneur

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio will ask county commissioners Tuesday night to approve spending an additional $2.3 million to speed up cybersecurity projects. The request comes four months after a ransomware attack that crippled county computer systems. 

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