Here’s today’s update:

  • USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to producers impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.  Learn more from USDA here. 

  • The Small Business Administration has released reports on the progress of the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, both created by the CARES Act to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 outbreak.  So far:
  • There are currently over 1.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 90,000 deaths in the United States, as reported by Johns Hopkins.  Of those, 33% of cases and 43% of deaths are in New York and New Jersey.  There are over 4.7 million cases and over 316,000 deaths worldwide. 

  • As of this morning, we have 19,023 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 661 deaths attributed to the disease in North Carolina.
    • As of 4pm yesterday, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services estimates about 11,600 North Carolina residents have since recovered from their COVID-19 infection.  More information about that estimate here.

  • Some encouraging stats: Global cases rose by 0.9% in the last day marking the first time the daily growth rate has fallen below one percent since February 24.  Global deaths rose by 0.7% which is the first sub-one percent increase in daily global deaths of the outbreak.

  • The IRS has announced that it has started to add 3,500 telephone operators to staff a special phone line to answer some of the most common questions people have about their CARES Act stimulus payments.  The number is 800-919-9835.  The IRS does warn, however, that telephone services may be limited and encourages taxpayers to visit the IRS’ website for the most up to date information on their payments.

  • N.C. State Extension has a useful flyer for farm stands that are gearing up for the spring and summer season with tips on how they can operate safely in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.  View it here.

For today’s good news story, I’m highlighting Little Boxes of Joy and its founder, Robin Grathwol, who surprised workers at the Pender Memorial Hospital on Friday with small packages of treats.  It’s another meaningful show of support for our front line health care workers who have been on the forefront of combating the COVID-19 outbreak for months.

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