News Roundup

The novel coronavirus pandemic has drastically altered the lives of all Americans in the space of just a week.  Shea and Jamie blogged on Monday about limitations on court proceedings designed to minimize close interactions and the correctional system’s response to the crises.  Shea was back on the blog again on Thursday discussing recent limitations on the operation of bars and restaurants as well as an extension of certain court filing deadlines.  We appreciate the work of state and local officials, court system actors, and law enforcement and other emergency response agencies during this trying time.  Stay safe and keep reading for more news.

Scams & Frauds.  Attorney General Josh Stein warned North Carolinians this week to be wary of scams and other frauds as the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, putting out a publication that warns against, among other things, buying miracle cures, falling for a charity scam, or becoming the victim of online phishing.  Stein also hosted a virtual town hall where he discussed strategies for protecting oneself against criminal schemes that take advantage of the coronavirus situation.

First Responders.  WFMY reports that law enforcement agencies and emergency first responders in the state are paying special attention to cleaning their equipment and have begun screening calls for coronavirus issues.  The WFMY report notes that the High Point Police are wearing gloves during many interactions and have been wiping down their patrol cars every time a person sits in the back seat.  911 operators also are asking callers about exposure to coronavirus so that responders will know whether a call for service will require extra precautions.

Detention Center Concerns.  Jamie blogged on Monday about efforts to minimize the spread of coronavirus in the correctional system and strategies for limiting the population of incarcerated and supervised persons while the system responds to the stress of the virus.  The Associated Press reports that correctional centers around the country are grappling with the difficult task of social distancing in a correctional environment, and that many incarcerated people are eager to reduce prison and jail populations by being released in light of the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.  NPR’s 1A also had an episode this week that discusses the impact of coronavirus on the prison population.

App Updates.  For all of its disruption, the coronavirus also is sparking the development of creative rapid responses to changed circumstances.  As an example, WLOS reports that the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office mobile app has been updated to provide users with the latest information about the pandemic.  The feature provides direct access to information from the CDC and local news updates about the virus.

Theft of Important Supplies.  The News & Observer reports that hospitals across the Triangle area have become victims of theft of important medical supplies.  People reportedly have been taking masks by the handful and have been filling up their own empty containers with hand sanitizer from dispensing stations set up throughout hospitals. 

Theft of Vital Supplies.  The bare shelves in paper product aisles at grocery stores around the country are evidence that Americans have drastically increased their personal strategic reserves of toilet paper.  The Greensboro News & Record reports that on Wednesday the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office discovered a stolen tractor trailer was being used to haul 18,000 pounds of bathroom paper products, including a significant amount of toilet paper.  The report says that only the trailer was actually stolen and that the paper cargo was not stolen and was headed to a legitimate place.  Deputies apparently ensured that the vital shipment made it to it intended destination.

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