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This edition is sponsored by Activate Good. 
Keep scrolling for... What's happening now... How to work better from home... Business + job resources to know... The first Raleigh Convergence Social Club is tonight... A local company pivoting to hand sanitizer, a do-gooder T-shirt and more.
Here’s what’s happening now:

N.C.'s first coronavirus-related deaths 

North Carolina has had its first coronavirus-related deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The person lived in Carrabus County, northeast of Charlotte, was in their late 70s with several underlying health issues. [NCDHHS]

Another person, from Virginia but passing through North Carolina, died from complications from the disease. 

A change in testing strategy

The statewide numbers of presumptive positive cases are now more than 500, but that won’t reflect everyone who is sick with COVID-19, particularly after new guidance from the county and state on Tuesday on who should be tested.

That guidance from the state and Wake County: If you’re sick with mild symptoms that could be COVID-19, stay at home, unless you’re 65 or older or have underlying health issues. [factsheet: what should I do if I feel sick?]

It’s a significant change in the way tests are given and how cases are tracked.

Wake County “will continue to monitor the at-risk people it tests. The county will no longer monitor cases in the public at large,” officials said in a release.

That means the numbers of coronavirus cases won't reflect everyone who's sick. Health officials say it’s not necessary for all people to get tested, though.

The State Health Director and the Chief Medical Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, said Tuesday that when someone with a mild illness leaves their home, they could expose themselves to the coronavirus if they don’t already have it.

The Wake County release on Tuesday said: “Now that the county knows the virus has spread throughout the county, it must begin conserving resources such as personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and direct testing to those more likely to become seriously ill.” [read more]

Wake County cases

As of Wednesday morning, there were 84 “presumptive positive” cases in Wake County, according to the county site.


But with fewer people being tested with the new strategy, there won’t be a full picture of how many people have the coronavirus.

The total North Carolina cases increased to at least 504 on Wednesday, according to the daily updated numbers on the [NCDHHS site.]

As Wednesday night, The News & Observer is reporting at least 607 known N.C. cases, with 84 in Wake County. [read more]

What's next: Wake County is expected to issue a stay-at-home order soon, which will be updated on RaleighConvergence.com. [@GregFordNC]

➡️ Updated a few times per day: [how to get help + more what's happening now]

➡️ Updated regularly: [how to help]

Message from Activate Good:

Activate Good, a 501(c)3 organization, remains true to its mission of supporting local nonprofits and connecting volunteers during this time of uncertainty.

In addition to numerous opportunities for those in good health to assist the elderly and other at-risk populations with daily needs, there are several remote volunteer opportunities available for those who are practicing social distancing but want to support nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. 
Volunteer NOW!
Raleigh Convergence is waiving sponsorship fees for local businesses and organizations affected by COVID-19 during the month of March as space is available. If you're interested in a free sponsorship, reply to this email for details.

 
How to work from home better.

We asked two experts -- one who consults with companies and one who works with entrepreneurs -- on how to work at home now.

THE EXPERT: Cole (CB2) Baker-Bagwell, business strategist and founder of Cool Audrey, based in Raleigh, has worked with clients on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. She helps clients bring mindfulness to the workplace.



THE ADVICE:

Raleigh Convergence: For people who don't usually work from home, how do you stay focused during a crisis like COVID-19? 


CB2: Mindset and intention are where we begin. We have to accept that COVID19 has changed most everything about life and work. We can meet these changes with the right mindset.

Outside of having tools to make work possible (laptop/PC, smart phone, internet) working remotely requires discipline, intention and mindful planning.

To get started, stick to your routine as if you were going into an office. If you were a commuter, use that time to do something for yourself: take a walk, ride your bike, sit quitely and enjoy your morning. Mindfully create structure for your day.

Ask yourself:  What needs my attention today?  How much focused time will I need to complete those things?

Lastly, move all calls, conference calls and meetings to video. Video creates focus, understanding, efficiency and most importantly, connection.

RC:  For people who work from home but now have kids at home too, how do you get through it? What are some strategies or mindsets to adopt during this time?

CB2: Things have changed for our kids too. This is super important to remember. From there, we need to work together to shift the way we think about and structure our work day. 

1. Communicate with your family and colleagues to create a plan for tag teaming. Consider working in shifts such as 8 a.m.-1 p.m 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or 12-5 p.m. Working in blocks of time can be wildly productive as long as you stay focused. Turn off distractions such as instant messaging and texts to stay focused during that time.

2. Create a space where you can work. Create a space for your kids to work and keep your resting and fun spaces sacred. Create a schedule that allows you to work together and play together. 

3. Embrace this new pace! Hiding our kids or keeping them quiet can create stress for everyone. these are weird times. Let your colleagues and clients know your kids are home. Invite your kids to join the first minute of your video meeting. If your colleagues have kids, invite them to do the same.

RC: How can managers lead well when they're not used to having a team who works remotely? 

CB2: Get human! Leaders have an amazing opportunity to unite and strengthen their teams, now more than ever but they have to work mindfully.

1. Video is magic! Connecting in the most human way possible is the key to success! Video is magic! If you don't have a virtual meeting tool, ask your company to purchase one for you. Platforms like Webex, Zoom, Bluejeans and Skype are super! 

2. Schedule short meetings with your team during the week to keep them connected. I recommend 15 minutes, video on. Create a simple format that enables everyone to contribute something. This is a great way to discover the talent that you have and the ways you can work together to do amazing business. 

3. Set mutual expectations and agreements.  
  • Invite your team members to share what's most challenging, cool solutions they are creating to address those challenges. This will create unity and remind team members that we are all in this together.
  • Encourage abbreviated days to help people create a balance between work and family. -Create one collective goal for each week. Make it fun. Treat it like a puzzle to be solved. Hold each other accountable for contributing.
  • Take 5 minutes each week to call each team member. Ask them how they are. Tell them you appreciate them and why. You can do this with FaceTime or using your favorite meeting tool. 
RC: What else? 

Mindfulness in business is always important. This window in time offers us a prime opportunity to realize its power. We've been racing through our days and we've adopted habits that do not serve us well.

This is a chance for us to reset, if we can cultivate a positive mindset, see opportunities we have to become more human in business and embrace this new pace.

By working mindfully and with intention, we just might realize that we can work fewer days and fewer hours and be more productive and more connected to each other than we've been for decades. 

 
THE EXPERT: Alisha Robertson is a business coach and founder of Living Over Existing; a podcast, newsletter and community for women entrepreneurs who want to build a successful business without sacrificing the life they desire.


 
THE ADVICE:

RC: For entrepreneurs, how do you stay focused during a crisis like COVID-19?
 

AR: What has helped me over the past couple of weeks is to choose one main task to focus on each day and nothing else. And I make sure that that one task is something that is going to help move my business forward in some way so that I am making the most of my time.
 
RC: For entrepreneurs who work from home but now have kids at home too, how do you get through it? What are some strategies or mindsets to adopt during this time? 

AR: I definitely recommend giving yourself some grace especially if you have small children. Children don't care much if you have work to do, and I've learned that there is no point in stressing over it and to just go with the flow.

It has been hard but I have learned to not try and stick to a normal schedule and to work whenever I get a free moment. Sometimes that looks like working during nap time or working after the baby goes to bed at night.

I've also had to lean on asking for help a lot more which means social distancing with my mom and sister so that they can hang out with the baby while I knock out calls. Now that my husband is working from home, we have been splitting up the day so that we each get a good amount of time to work throughout the day.
 
RC: What are some ways the community can support entrepreneurs at this time? 

I believe that local entrepreneurs who rely on in-person customers need us more than ever now! If you're able to purchase gift cards from local companies and use them at a later date, order take-out from your favorite restaurants or donate to their crowdfunding campaigns to help them keep their doors open!
More business + job resources

Wake County Economic Development COVID-19 resources, one of the most extensive roundups of resources. [Raleigh-Wake.org]

Business relief resources including grants [Economic Development Partnership of NC]

Raleigh Chamber of Commerce resources for businesses, including many frequently asked questions [Raleigh Chamber]

An online course for managers from The Flourish Market's Em Sexton, Leading Through Corona [EmSexton.com]

Places hiring now [WRAL TechWire]

More people are eligible to receive unemployment from the state. Learn more: [NC Dept of Commerce]

Join us for a drink... from your couch.

Community exists for a reason. So we're reclaiming that in a time of physical distancing with the Raleigh Convergence Social Club. 

How it works:

  • This club is open to everyone and will take place over Zoom video conferencing.
  • Bring your own beverage -- preferably purchased locally -- and join in. 
  • We'll start with a conversation between co-hosts on a variety of topics, with an open chat box. 
  • Then, you'll be randomly assigned into smaller conversations to talk with a few other Raleighites. 
Tonight: Editor & Publisher Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen will have a conversation with the hosts of the North Carolina Food & Beverage (NC F&B) podcast, Max Trujillo and Matthew Weiss

Club rules:
  1. Be kind. Be human. 
  2. No personal attacks or weird stuff you wouldn't do in person. 
  3. Cameras on. No lurking. This is for people who want to show up like they would in person.

Details: The conversation starts at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday (tonight!) 

Use this link to join in [JOIN

Or find the link at RaleighConvergence.com to grab the link tonight.

NEW in The New Neighbor Project:

Explore your new community with these iconic experiences. Some of the items on the Cary, Knightdale, Southeast Raleigh or Raleigh checklists you can do now, and some you can save for later. 

FYI: if you signed up earlier but haven't received an email yet for your community, please complete the form again! There was an issue with the form for some existing subscribers that is now fixed. [sign up]

See how you can shop local now with Shop Local Raleigh's list of ways to support local businesses during COVID-19. [ShopLocalRaleigh.org]

Raleigh-based Murphy's Naturals announced it's launching a hand sanitizer. The Loading Dock-headquartered B Corp is veteran founded and is allocating its first batch to the U.S. Navy, but then we can purchase online. [learn more]

This new Raleigh T-shirt is for a good cause. 50% profit goes towards Raleigh Music Venue Employee Fund, 50% profit goes towards Triangle Restaurant Workers Relief Fund. There's stickers, too. [Facebook order]
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