Chatham’s COVID-19 timeline

Posted 7/17/20


March 6: Chatham County announces its first case of coronavirus, which is also the state’s second confirmed case after the first appeared in Wake County on March 3. Both cases were linked …

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Chatham’s COVID-19 timeline

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March 6: Chatham County announces its first case of coronavirus, which is also the state’s second confirmed case after the first appeared in Wake County on March 3. Both cases were linked to outbreaks in Italy and in a Washington long-term care facility.

March 10: Gov. Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in North Carolina in response to increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in the state.

March 11: The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

March 13: The United States declared a national emergency in response to increasing cases of COVID-19.

March 14: Cooper ordered K-12 schools to close for at least two weeks, beginning on March 16. He also banned all public gathering larger than 100 people.

March 17: Two more Chatham County residents tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the county’s total to three confirmed cases. The same day, Chatham County declared its own State of Emergency. Cooper ordered all restaurants and bars to close and limit themselves to takeout or curbside orders only. The town of Pittsboro’s state-of-emergency declaration takes effect, too.

March 20: Mayor John Grimes issued a state-of-emergency declaration for Siler City to respond to COVID-19.

March 23: Cooper extends school closings through May 15.

March 25: Three more Chatham residents tested positive for the virus.

March 27: Cooper announced a month-long “stay-at-home” order, closing all nonessential businesses and limiting gatherings to 10 people. The order began on March 30 and was set to expire on April 30.

March 31: Cooper issues an executive order to prevent utility companies (gas, electric, wastewater, water and gas services) from shutting off services for the next two months if people are unable to pay bills thanks to the pandemic.


April 8: Four more Chatham residents tested positive for COVID-19 in The Laurels of Chatham Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a long-term care facility in Pittsboro.

April 10: After identifying two more positive cases, the Chatham Public Health Department partnered with UNC Health and the The Laurels of Chatham Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center to test all residents and staff living and working in the facility.

April 12: Testing identified 51 more people who had been infected by COVID-19 in The Laurels of Chatham Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. According to the news release, some cases may not add to Chatham County’s official count since some of the nursing facility’s staff may not live in the county.

April 14: Chatham County reports its first death caused by COVID-19. The individual lived at The Laurels of Chatham.

April 22: Media outlets reporting COVID-19 outbreaks in several poultry processing plants across North Carolina, including 11 cases in Mountaire Farms’ Siler City plan.

April 23: Cooper extends the statewide “stay-at-home” order through May 8.

April 23-24: Mountaire Farms offers free COVID-19 testing to Siler City plant employees — and their families — if they had symptoms. On April 24, Cooper also announced schools would remain closed until the end of the school year.


May 5: Cooper modifies the statewide “stay-at-home” order to ease several COVID-19 restrictions, the first step in reopening North Carolina. Retail businesses are allowed to open at 50% capacity. This modified order became effective on May 8.

May 15: The state health department updates guidance on who should be tested for COVID-19. Now people with or without symptoms who have been exposed to the virus or are at higher risk may get tested.

May 22: North Carolina enters the second phase of Cooper’s reopening plan, which allowed restaurants and personal care businesses to reopen at 50 percent indoor capacity. Bars and gyms remained closed.

May 23: The state health department reported the largest single-day case increase, which was 1,107.

May 24: Chatham County reported 578 confirmed cases of COVID-19.


June 6: North Carolina again reports another record single-day increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases at 1,370.

June 9: North Carolina updates COVID-19 testing guidelines in response to statewide protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality. The new guidelines recommend that people who attended mass outdoor rallies and protests should be tested for COVID-19, especially if social distancing was hard to maintain.

June 24: Rising COVID-19 cases in North Carolina cause Cooper to halt the state’s reopening and issue an executive order requiring everyone to wear face masks in public places where social distancing is difficult. The order began on June 26. Chatham County’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeds 900, with 42 reported deaths in the county.


July 3: The state department reported the highest number of positive coronavirus cases in a single day: 2,099.

July 8: Chatham County’s total confirmed case count of COVID-19 reaches 1,000.


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