Editor’s note: This guidance announcement is expected to have an impact on many planned spring events on Ocracoke and the rest of the Outer Banks. This story is breaking and as more details become known they will be forthcoming. 

To slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now advising against gatherings of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks.

The announcement provided examples of event that  include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.

This recommendation does not apply to the day-to-day operation of organizations such as schools, institutes of higher learning or businesses.

Although only  a recommendation, this  guidance announcement may have an impact on several planned events on the Outer Banks. More reporting will be forthcoming.

The state Department of Health and Human Services posted on its website Sunday that North Carolina now has 32 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. In addition, Wilson County reported Sunday it had its first COVID-19 case, bringing the state’s total to at least 33 cases in 14 counties. Most reports are from Wake County. Hyde and Dare Counties have not had any  reports.

As of this morning, the New York Times reported at least 3,602 people in 49 states, plus Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories, have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 66 patients with the virus have died. West Virginia is the sole state without a report. 

A cascade of announcements of shutdowns of schools and libraries and cancellations of activities throughout the country had already begun prior to the CDC announcement.

Stocks plunged this morning with the S&P 500 falling 8%  and the Dow opened 9.7%, or 2,250 points lower at the start of trading. A drop of more than 7 percent of the S&P 500 triggers an automatic ‘circuit breaker’ that halted trading for 15 minutes, a measure meant to prevent the markets from crashing.



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