Here’s today’s COVID-19 update:

  • The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published nursing home data showing at least 26,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 in nursing homes.  With about 80% of nursing homes reporting, one in four facilities had at least one COVID-19 case and about one in five facilities had one COVID-19 death.  CMS also announced new penalties for nursing homes with infection control problems.  The agency will make nursing home level data available to the public on Thursday.

  • An update on the bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program improvement bill passed by the House last week: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday that he hopes and anticipates the Senate will soon take up and pass the legislation, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature.
  • Here are the latest stats from the Small Business Administration on the PPP:
    • Nationwide, more than 4.475 million businesses have received PPP loans from 4,454 different lenders – 5,300 of which were small and medium sized lenders with less than $10 billion in assets.  These loans have pumped more than $510.2 billion into our small businesses since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • Here in North Carolina, nearly 113,000 businesses have received PPP loans worth $12.218 billion.
    • For the full report, click here.

  • New Hanover County announced on Monday that small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can apply now through Friday for a $10,000 grant, funded through the federal CARES Act approved by Congress in March.  Up to 130 small businesses will be eligible via a lottery system.  Businesses with fewer than 25 employees that are located in New Hanover County and whose owner lives in New Hanover County are eligible for the grant.  Funds can be used to hire or rehire employees, and for expenses related to providing social distancing and enhanced sanitation measures to ensure safe reopening.  More information available here.

  • The Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed is well underway with 14 possible vaccines under development.  Just yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was bringing on Emergent BioSolutions as a key manufacturer of the eventual approved COVID-19 vaccine.  These actions, taken now, will help ensure that we have sufficient manufacturing capacity for the vaccine, when it becomes available as quickly as possible.

  • The U.S. has now performed more than 17.3 million tests for COVID-19.  Over 2.7 million of those tests were performed in the past 7 days. 

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division is making available up to $1 billion in loan guarantees for rural businesses to help them meet their capital needs during the pandemic.  A webinar for lenders and the general public with more information about the program will be hosted on Wednesday, June 3 at 2 p.m. ET.  You can register for the webinar here.

For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting 102-year-old Helen Ford of Bolivia, who celebrated her 102nd Birthday on Monday as her friends and family put on a parade through her neighborhood to honor her from afar.  Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Helen’s loved ones were still able to make her 102nd birthday one to remember.

As always, stay tuned to and the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ website for the latest on the outbreak.