“We hear your frustrations”: Employment Security Commission addresses unemployment application issues

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The spread of coronavirus has left many out of work, causing more than 300,000 people to apply for unemployment (photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

NORTH CAROLINA (WWAY) — The spread of coronavirus has left many out of work, causing more than 300,000 people to apply for unemployment.

In a news conference Thursday afternoon, the Employment Security Commission broke that number down.

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“That averages to almost 1-thousand claims an hour for 24 hours a day for the last 14 days,” Assistant Secretary Lockhart Taylor says $8.2M has been paid in COVID-related claims but there are still many people who need help.

He addressed the issues people have had applying for unemployment, saying they have taken immediate action to resolve those problems.

“We hear your frustrations and I know the importance these benefits will have in these times of uncertainty,” Taylor said.

Commissioner Todd Ishee with the Division of Adult Corrections reported 8 cases of coronavirus within the prison systems, 4 prisoners and 4 employees.

He says their top priority is the health and safety of their employees and the men and women in their care.

They are continually monitoring the prisoners.

“With specific focus on cleaning, good hygene practices, medical triage, appropriate testing and tracking,” Ishee said.

As of April 1, all staff and visitors of the prisons are being screened upon entry.

These screenings include temperature checks to make sure no one has a temperature over 100 degrees.

He says they have only recently implemented these changes because of the lack of availability in no contact thermometers.

The closest prison to the Cape Fear with COVID-19 cases is Johnston Correctional Facility, where one inmate and one employee are infected.