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RALEIGH — The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions, or HOPE, Program has announced changes to accept referrals of tenants from landlords and increase financial awards to North Carolina households that apply for pandemic-related rent and utility assistance.

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OCEAN — Going against the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies, the Carteret County Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday evening to make masks optional for public school students and staff in the 2021-22 academic year.

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MOREHEAD CITY — Amid a cascade of announcements this week that some of the state’s largest health care providers will require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine to continue working at their facilities, Carteret Health Care officials say the hospital has not imposed such a mandate on its staff.

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CARTERET COUNTY — County health officials reported Wednesday there were four new confirmed COVID-19 cases since Monday, bringing the total number of cases documented in Carteret County since March 2020 to 5,255.

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CARTERET COUNTY — The Carteret County Health Department’s Monday COVID-19 update shows a slight increase in the number of total confirmed cases and the number of active cases since the last report Friday, with hospitalizations remaining steady over the same time period.

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MOREHEAD CITY — The Carteret County Health Department reported Monday a resident has died of COVID-19, the 58th such death reported in the county since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

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CARTERET COUNTY — The Carteret County Health Department added 27 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 to its overall count Wednesday, but said another reporting delay by testing providers meant active cases only went up by two since Monday to 18.