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5 Things To Know: N.C. Reports Highest Daily COVID Count on Record

...and four more stories from Dec. 26, 2021-Jan. 1, 2022

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Johnson & Johnson vaccine, NC COVID cases
Raziya Little, Kriss Gomar and Lisa Duffy prepare vaccinations for use at a walk-up clinic held on Eastway Drive in April. NC has seen its highest spike in COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began this week. (Photo by Dan Fogleman/Atrium Health)

NC Records Highest Total of New COVID Cases on Record

NC Department of Health and Human Services dropped some startling numbers on Friday, ending the year with an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases thanks to the Omicron variant. According to the NC DHHS Dashboard, there were 19,174 positive cases reported on Dec. 31, the highest total the state has seen in one day since the pandemic began.

The high total of new NC COVID cases was the result of expanded testing efforts statewide, though the startling 22.9% positivity rate out of 76,186 tests carried out professionally around the state on Thursday and the unknown amount of positive at-home tests means the high total is indicative of more than just an increase in testing.

Locally, the state reported 200 positive cases per 100,000 residents in Mecklenburg County between Thursday and Friday, which equals out to more than 2,100 newly confirmed cases in the county. Mecklenburg County has seen a total of 1,314 deaths due to the novel coronavirus since the pandemic began. 

In light of the spiking numbers, some local businesses, organizations and institutions have begun to take action. Management at Snug Harbor announced on Instagram on Thursday that, due to an outbreak among staff, the music venue would be closing its doors until Jan. 5. Other businesses such as NoDa Company Store and VBGB Beer Hall & Garden canceled plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations scheduled for Friday night, though at the time of this writing, countless others planned to move ahead with indoor celebrations. 

Officials at UNC Charlotte announced Friday that classes will begin as scheduled on Monday, Jan. 10, though all undergraduate and graduate classes will be held virtually until Monday, Jan. 24.

“By moving to virtual classes for two weeks, we hope to get past the holiday surge of the omicron variant, reduce the spread of the virus in our on-campus population and minimize disruptions to instruction,” read a statement from the university. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools students are currently scheduled to return from winter break on Tuesday, Jan. 4. 


Young Teen Charged with Shooting CMPD Officer

A CMPD officer is still recovering after having been shot while investigating reports of a car break-in early Monday morning. According to CMPD officials, a resident called 911 claiming that he caught someone breaking into his car at the Woodland Estates Apartment Homes off Redmann Road near the old Eastland Mall site. The resident told police the suspect had pulled a gun on him when confronted.

Responding officers spotted the suspect upon arriving at the scene and, during a brief foot chase, the suspect allegedly fired on them, striking one in the upper body area. The officer returned fire but did not strike the suspect, who was taken into custody and found to be only 14 years old. After taking the suspect to a nearby hospital for evaluation, he was charged with attempted murder of a police officer. The officer suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery. 

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Homicide Total Tops 100 for Second Straight Year

Two men were killed in incidents of gun violence this week, including one murder on Christmas morning, putting the total number of homicides in Charlotte this year at 119 — in the hopeful assumption that no more will occur between the time of this writing late on Friday afternoon and the end of the year at midnight.

At least 16 of those killings have been deemed “justified” by CMPD, putting the total number of illegal killings in Charlotte this year at 103, though that number is subject to change as police decide on whether more recent killings like one that occurred on Wednesday will be deemed justified. 

 

CMPD officers responded to a shooting call on the corner of Beatties Ford Road and Catherine Simmons Avenue just before 2:15 a.m. on Christmas Day and found two men with gunshot wounds. One was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while 28-year-old Fredrick Edwards was pronounced dead on the scene. A third victim with non-life-threatening injuries reportedly drove themself to the hospital. Police have signed warrants for first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon against 30-year-old Bruce Japel Adams and ask that anyone who knows his whereabouts call 911 or 704-432-TIPS. 

Bruce Adams is wanted for murder
Bruce Japel Adams is wanted for murder.

Just before noon on Wednesday, police responded to a shooting call on Hamilton Circle in the Nevin area of north Charlotte after someone called 911 and advised that they had just shot someone, who they said then drove away. Police later located 40-year-old Antone Sloan after he crashed his car nearby. He was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Sloan was transported to the hospital, where he later died. No arrests have yet been made in the case, though police say they have spoken with everyone involved. 


Asheville Police Deputy Chief Faces Allegations of Sex-Trafficking Cover-Up

Elsewhere in the state, a deputy chief in the Asheville Police Department (APD) is facing allegations that he helped protect two officers involved in a sex-trafficking ring during his time with the Fairfax Police Department in Virginia. A federal lawsuit named Jim Baumstark, then a captain with the Fairfax Police Department (FPD) and now a deputy chief with APD, as one of the higher-ups at FPD who helped cover up the sex-trafficking ring. 

The woman who filed the lawsuit, identified only as Jane Doe, says she was forced by members of the ring, which included FPD officers, to work as a prostitute in and around the county.  

The lawsuit states that “some of the defendants” provided “security to the trafficking ring that ensnared Jane Doe, secured sexual services from trafficked women, and may also have extorted money from the ring’s leadership.” She also claimed that high-ranking officers within the department helped cover-up aspects of the criminal syndicate within Fairfax County. 

APD released a statement this week that reads, “The Asheville Police Department is aware of a pending civil lawsuit from another jurisdiction involving one of APD’s leadership and is hopeful the matter will be resolved in a timely manner. It would be inappropriate to comment further on this civil matter.”


Man Given Mayo Bath After Bowl Game

A grown man took a full-on mayonnaise bath in Charlotte this week, and in full transparency and honesty, it’s been a slow news week, so it made it here into our News Roundup. 

The viral moment came following the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, played between the University of North Carolina Tarheels and University of South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, and rather than give the traditional Gatorade bath to the winning coach, the Charlotte Sports Foundation team behind the bowl game decided to do something a bit more on brand. 

The Gamecocks won the game 38-21, meaning head coach Shane Beamer was in line for a mayo bath. In the end, the most unpleasant part of the whole thing appeared to be the moment when the two women attempting to administer the mayo accidentally slammed him in the back of the head with the cooler. We wish him a speedy recovery. 


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