Here’s Monday’s COVID-19 update:

    • Over the weekend, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services reported the state’s highest one day number of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,370 cases reported.  The percent of tests that were positive climbed to 10 percent.  In addition, hospitalizations have exceeded 700 for three of the past five days.

    • The North Carolina High School Athletic Association has announced that high schools across the state will be permitted to resume athletics again starting on June 15.  NCHSAA also released guidelines for returning to play, designed to help administrators, coaches, parents and student athletes resume sports activities in a safe, gradual manner.

    • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced the next steps for the implementation of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which was signed into law by President Trump this past Friday.  Specifically, SBA, in consultation with Treasury, will promptly issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form, and a modified loan forgiveness application implementing these legislative amendments to the PPP.  These modifications will implement changes that include:
      • Extending the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement.
      • Lowering the requirements that 75 percent of a borrower’s loan proceeds must be used for payroll and that 75 percent of the loan forgiveness amount must have been spent on payroll costs during the 24-week loan forgiveness covered period to 60 percent for each of these requirements.
      • Providing a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time equivalent employees for borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before February 15, 2020.
      • Increasing to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by SBA on or after June 5, 2020.

    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Farmers to Families Food Box Program has distributed more than five million food boxes to American families affected by the COVID-19 crisis.  As the program ramps up, the USDA expects as many as 40 million boxes of food will be delivered by the end of June.   This is an innovative program that is helping support both our producers and our families in need due to the coronavirus outbreak.

    For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting Diana Freeman of Princeton, Johnston County who has made 670 face masks since the start of the crisis and has donated them all to assisted living facilities, hospitals, family and friends in 6 states across the country – even paying out of her own pocket to cover the postage to mail them.  It’s just one of the ways individual North Carolinians are making a difference in the midst of the crisis.  Thanks to Lee from Goldsboro for sharing Diana’s story with us.

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