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Cornelius News

Sunday Update: 1st COVID-19 death in Meck, 1st related unemployment checks coming this week

March 29. By Dave Yochum. With the Mecklenburg County Health Director reporting the first COVID-19 death in Mecklenburg County looming in the background, Gov. Roy Cooper has announced that the first unemployment checks related to coronavirus will begin going out this week. The Division of Employment Security has received an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims since he signed Executive Order No. 118 on March 17.

The disease is infecting the North Carolina and US economy as well. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease official, said the new COVID-19 could kill up to 200,000 Americans and sicken millions more.

As per government orders, businesses are shutting down, while some employees are able to work from home.

“Thousands of workers have lost jobs, but their bills don’t stop. My administration is working overtime to get unemployment checks out now. We’ll keep pushing every day for more state and federal help to save our workers and their families,” Cooper said.

Auto dealers, who can stay open during the stay-at-home order, say they are preparing for “April to be down 50%-60% in sales” from a year ago.

And these are businesses that are open.

DES overwhelmed

In the past two weeks, approximately 270,000 claims have been filed, with most of them related to COVID-19. For comparison, the state received about 7,500 claims in the first two weeks of March, before the order was issued.

On Saturday, the Governor directed the Division of Employment Security to begin implementing the unemployment insurance provisions of the federal CARES Act. The Division of Employment of Security expects to receive guidance from the federal government later this week about how to implement the changes, including the change that allows for an additional $600 in unemployment benefits. The state expects those payments to begin two weeks after that.

Workers applying for benefits must complete their weekly certifications in order to receive unemployment insurance payments. The weekly certification is a series of ‘yes or no’ questions that helps determine a person’s eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits each week. If a person does not complete a weekly certification, they will not receive a payment for that week.

The weekly certification must be completed through the individual’s online account at des.nc.gov.

For general questions about unemployment benefits in North Carolina during the COVID-19 crisis, contact the Division of Employment Security.

Employees with questions about the application and benefits can read more about requirements and steps to get an unemployment benefit payment here: https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information/covid-19-information-individuals

Employers who have questions about their role in the process can read more about what is required of them to help their workers qualify for benefits here: https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information/covid-19-information-employers .

To report technical difficulties using the online tools provided by the Division of Employment Security, contact the office via the form at https://des.nc.gov/customer-contact-form.

For more information and additional guidance on regulations and recommendations related to the health threat from COVID-19, please visit the NCDHHS website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus and CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Cooper ordered residents to stay at home for 30 days to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The order takes effect Monday at 5 pm.