RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Unemployment benefit requests in North Carolina surged this week due to the new coronavirus as business activity slowed and as a ban on dining in at restaurants and bars began.

The state Division of Employment Security says the number of claims in which people blamed COVID-19 for their layoffs or for reduced hours surpassed the average weekly number of overall claims in less than 24 hours.

Similar jobless claim surges are occurring in other states. 

North Carolina state health officials now count more than 60 residents as testing positive for the virus.

Attorney General Josh Stein says his agency is investigating price-gouging complaints.