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A dozen arrested early Tuesday at Richmond City Hall protest

Police used tear gas and other less-lethal projectiles in the early hours of Tuesday morning to break up an encampment of about 60 protesters who had gathered around City Hall.

They arrested 12 people who refused to leave the area demonstrators had dubbed “Reclamation Square” after police declared an “unlawful assembly” at around 12:42 a.m., several hours after the gathering began.

But Richmond police did not respond to repeated requests for comment Tuesday or to answer questions about their use of force. Instead, in a news release, Richmond police said protesters threw rocks and other things at them. The statement made no mention of the tear gas and what appeared to be rubber bullets and flash bangs that videos show authorities using on protesters even as they retreated.

On Twitter, the Richmond Police Department said early Tuesday that it was declaring the demonstration unlawful because of “sit-ins, sit-downs, blocking traffic, blocking entrances or exits of buildings that impact public safety or infrastructure.”

“Protesters threw traffic cones, barricades and concrete trash cans into the street, used vehicles to block off the street and set up tents in front of the entrance doors. The protestors also threw rocks and other objects at the officers,” according to a release from the Richmond Police Department on Tuesday.

It was unclear, however, when the alleged rock and object throwing took place — before or after police started clearing the area. Police did not respond to requests for clarification Tuesday.

Videos of the police action shared on social media appear to show a projectile shot toward a protester at close range and a female demonstrator tackled by a police officer while she was attempting to shield herself with an umbrella.

Breanne Armbrust, who arrived at the demonstration around 8 p.m., said there was no sign of police for hours. She said some of the protesters had used their cars to block the intersection around 11:45 p.m. to prevent anyone from driving into the area where they were gathered. Police SUVs arrived shortly thereafter, she said, but officers were wearing typical uniforms — not riot gear.

It wasn’t until roughly 12:30 a.m. that Virginia State Police officers clad in riot gear arrived.

“Not one person was prepared or expecting there was going to be an incident with police,” Armbrust said.

At the time, civilians, two of whom were using wheelchairs, were sitting at a nearby GRTC bus stop, but Armbrust said that officers did not alert the bystanders of their intent to use chemical agents.

After arriving, officers present attempted to make an announcement while pointing strobe lights at demonstrators. Amid the flashing lights, Armbrust said that she and others present could not comprehend what was being announced. Officers began firing tear gas canisters — oftentimes at a close range — around 1 a.m., causing protesters to disperse quickly, Armbrust said.

“I’ve been protesting for a long time and I’ve never seen what I’ve been seeing,” said Armbrust, who is the director of a nonprofit organization in the city. “There was just complete chaos that was happening.”

Police have used tear gas on numerous demonstrations since they began in Richmond on May 29, including around the Lee statue on June 1 that resulted in an apology from the mayor.

Between 1 and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, officers released several waves of tear gas on demonstrators, she said, also using rubber bullets and pepper balls to disperse the crowd. Since she joined the protests May 29, Armbrust said she has never seen “the volume of tear gas” deployed as it was Tuesday.

But, she has on several occasions observed tear gas launched at demonstrators attempting to leave.

“In all of these instances, that includes the very first night of protests, the police continue to shoot and fire as people are running away,” Armbrust said.

She said she knows someone who was injured by a rubber bullet and is in the hospital.

City Councilman Michael Jones said Tuesday on Twitter that he plans to introduce legislation to ban flash bangs, tear gas and rubber bullets in Richmond. Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch said she supports the measure. Jones said innocent civilians and peaceful protesters “should not have militaristic weapons deployed on them.”

And a group of Richmond-area physicians denounced police use of pepper spray and other chemical agents amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The irritants used to disperse protesters induce coughing and heavy breathing, and often force those affected to remove face coverings — all actions that send virus particles into the air.

In an email to RPD, the physicians urged law enforcement to use chemical irritants only “as a last resort and with sufficient warning to all individuals present.”

In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ralph Northam stated that demonstrations in Virginia have been largely peaceful, but that nightly clashes between protesters and police “cannot continue.”

“As you saw last night in Richmond, and unlawful assembly was called. People refused to leave,” he said. “When people break the law, we can’t condone that.”

All of those arrested early Tuesday were charged with unlawful assembly. One person was also served with a pending embezzlement charge and another was charged with four counts of assaulting a police officer.

Only one person arrested was not from Richmond and all were released after they were processed at the justice center, police said. Eleven of the 12 were 30 years old or younger.

The night had started peacefully with most of the attention on the Robert E. Lee monument, where another group of protesters gathered as they have for weeks. The area around the statue has become a gathering place for protesters in Richmond.

State and city officials on Monday issued an order banning gatherings on the grounds from sunset to sunrise, citing safety.

Protesters defied that order Monday. Law enforcement officials had begun to surround the area just after sundown, but did not move to remove the crowd of more than 150 people. The crowd at the Lee monument thinned out by 11 p.m. Monday, as there were fewer than two dozen people at the statue when a Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter drove by.

Tuesday morning, Virginia State Police posted signs around the statue listing the “rules and regulations” for the assemblies there. They had been torn down by 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Virginia Department of General Services said Tuesday morning that it secured the concrete barriers it erected last week around the statue.

By 7 p.m. Monday, eight tents had been set up on East Marshall between North Ninth and North 10th streets. Bikes and cars encircled the gathering. Pamphlets being handed out by the group said, “Our guiding principle is, ‘Black liberation by any means necessary.’”

The police statement says that at about midnight, “officers arrived at city hall to deal with the occupation, which had been growing in size for several hours. Protestors were distributing fliers which indicated they planned to stay in place long-term.”

“Approximately 40 minutes after the officers arrived, the first Unlawful Assembly announcement was broadcast to the crowd and then repeated several times. The announcement was also posted on Twitter. After another 45 minutes had passed, officers began arresting those who had not dispersed,” the police statement said.

Virginia State Police moved in on the encampment shortly before the announcement, according to a reporter from The Commonwealth Times. Officers reportedly deployed various chemical irritants, flash bangs and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators, who had begun their sit-in seven hours prior.

The 12 protesters arrested Tuesday are among hundreds arrested in Richmond since protests against police brutality began May 29. In response to mass arrests, a MoveOn.org petition was created to demand that Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin drop all charges against protesters, and had over 1,000 signatures as of 9 p.m. Tuesday.

McEachin did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

The ACLU of Virginia endorsed the demand to drop charges in a Twitter post Tuesday.

Police made no mention of the use of chemical agents to force protesters away from the scene and did not immediately respond Tuesday to questions about the necessity for their use.

In a statement, Virginia State Police said: “The Virginia State Police was again present overnight in a support capacity of Richmond Police. For tactical and officer safety purposes, we do not discuss operational issues.” State police did not disclose which chemical agents or tools were used to disperse the sit-in.

One officer was injured when he was struck on the arm by a stick and treated at the scene, police said.

In addition to unlawful assembly charges, police said Jonathan A. Delk, 24, was served with a pending felony embezzlement warrant and John D. Weakley, 37, was charged with four counts of assault on a law enforcement officer.

De’Andre Quarles was among the group of people arrested early Tuesday morning outside City Hall. By Tuesday afternoon, he was among the demonstrators and directing traffic at one side of the circle around the Robert E. Lee monument.

“I got arrested last night supporting my people and I don’t see no reason to stop,” he said. “I’m planning to be here every day.”

As cars rolled around and stopped at his direction, he’d also offer free hot dogs and bottles of water, or direct them if they were looking for parking.

“It’s messed up,” he said about recent efforts by police to close public access to the monument from dusk to sunrise. “You got protesters doing everything wrong, and protesters doing everything right, and I don’t feel we should be faulted for the ones not doing things right.”

Hundreds congregated at the Lee monument Tuesday as night fell. Demonstrators grilled, played basketball and danced, and Nas blasted through a makeshift DJ setup.

But as rain slowly crept in, so did the anticipation of police. As of 9:30 p.m., no law enforcement had shown up at the Lee monument.

Around 8:15 p.m., a truck with “TRUMP 2020” and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags drove through the circle to boos. People grabbed the flags off the truck, and shortly after, burned both at the base of the monument.

As sunset neared, organizers took hold of a bullhorn.

“We’re going to hold it down,” one said, adding that they were there to be witnesses if police initiated any confrontation.


Business
Some Richmond businesses first had to deal with challenges during the pandemic. Now they are dealing the aftermath of vandalism

When Greg Milefsky temporarily closed his bicycle shop in downtown Richmond in March, he did so amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic that caused other businesses around the region and the country to shutter.

After a couple weeks, as he saw other bike shops continue operating, Milefsky reopened his Balance Bicycle Shop at 904 W. Broad St., and saw business spike at a time when the virus was spurring people to get back on a bike for some outdoor exercise.

But then demonstrations in Richmond sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis turned destructive. Looters broke into his store during the overnight hours between May 30 and May 31.

They stole 70 to 80 bikes that had been in the shop, he said. The stolen bicycles included his own inventory that he had planned to sell and dozens owned by customers.

“And then I’m out of a job. I have no income,” Milefsky said during an interview at his store where a row of bike hooks along the wall were bare. “So insurance is going to cover some of that, but realistically I couldn’t even reopen this year.”

Other business owners interviewed along Broad Street in downtown Richmond recently said they were wrestling with the challenges of how to eke out a living during a pandemic, a historic economic downturn as well as incidents of vandalism from burglars who took advantage of the protests against police brutality that have taken place in Richmond and across the country.

Some businesses had reopened in recent weeks along Broad Street, although many storefronts late last week continued to be covered by plywood upon which people have spray painted “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd” as well as other messages in support of the protests.

At the Balance Bicycle Shop, Milefsky is weighing his options, saying that perhaps one day he might open a bike store somewhere else, although he didn’t have any timeline on when that could happen. He added that he might instead become an investor in another bike shop.

A pressing issue on his mind was using proceeds from a GoFundMe campaign that had raised $42,500 as of Tuesday afternoon to help pay back dozens of customers whose bikes had been stolen during the break-in.

Ashley Carruthers, owner of the Rosewood Clothing Co., reopened her store at 16 W. Broad St., on Thursday. In recent weeks, she wanted the shop to be boarded up in order to show solidarity with the protesters.

“We were totally fine, but we decided to board up just to stand with the neighborhood,” Carruthers said. “I think it just shows that we’re not doing business right now. This is more important.”

Rosewood Clothing had been closed initially spurred by the onset of the coronavirus concerns in March. Although the store has been closed to customers, the business has shifted some sales to the internet, she said.

“Online [sales] have been decent, nowhere near our normal numbers,” Carruthers said.

At It’s a Man’s World consignment store at 100 W. Broad St., owner Susan Youngs said her store’s business is suffering as the customers she relies on also are suffering from the economic downturn.

For example, younger employees at local restaurants are no longer heading to her store to buy clothing they need for jobs that have temporarily vanished, she said.

“No one needs clothing. No one is working in food service,” Youngs said.

At Waller & Co. Jewelers at 19 E. Broad St., Richard A. Waller Jr. said that the store has been busy in the weeks after vandals broke in and shattered a half-dozen glass display cases, taking merchandise such as watches and jewelry.

Waller, an 82-year-old watchmaker, recalled how one of the vandals ran past him in the early morning hours of May 31 after he opened the front door.

“It was terrible, but I got myself together, and I prayed for them [the burglars], and I asked God to forgive them,” said Waller, the grandson of the store’s founder who opened the business in 1900. “Everything I had can be replaced — everything but my life.”

Just hours after the break-in, Waller said about 70 people from sororities and fraternities at local colleges showed up to the store on the morning of May 31 to help clean up.

“It was like unbelievable,” Waller said. “It ended up being a great day instead of being a real sad day.”

Waller & Co. Jewelers also has received financial help. A GoFundMe drive raised nearly $52,000 as of Tuesday afternoon to help the business recover from the break-in. The Virginia 30 Day Fund, which was created in early April to help budding businesses in the state operate during the coronavirus pandemic, gave the company a $3,000 forgivable loan.

Some other GoFundMe campaigns are being conducted to help other businesses in the area vandalized during the unrest.

For instance, the Metropolitan Business League started a GoFundMe campaign to help Richmond Dentistry for Children. The pediatric dentistry business was vandalized, causing damage to the exterior and interior of the business at 300 W. Broad St.

Rumors Boutique, a vintage men’s and women’s clothing store on West Broad Street downtown, also was damaged by looters. The shop set a $30,000 goal and has raised more than $40,100 as of Tuesday afternoon.

***

In Carytown, dozens of shops were boarded up by June 1 to prevent looting and destruction after three stores were broken into late on May 30 or early on May 31.

The storefronts that were boarded up included all of the tenants in Cary Court Park & Shop.

But many of the stores in Carytown are no longer boarded up — as merchants begin to welcome customers back.

Amanda Slone, president of the Carytown Merchants Association, said that easing COVID-19 restrictions allows people to dine at restaurants and is helping draw consumers back to Carytown, though business remains slow.

“I think that now that people can go and eat at the restaurants, we’re seeing our restaurants coming back, we’re seeing the foot traffic is definitely picking back up,” Slone said.

Tara Wegdam co-owns three stores at Cary Court — apparel shop Zest Clothing & Co., home good store Creme de la Creme, and women’s accessories shop Lou Lou Boutiques — and said customer traffic continues to be slow there.

Small businesses, she said, are facing a very difficult and uncertain time.

“It’s uncertain, but we’re just glad that we’re not sick, and as long as we’re not sick, we will survive because we’re entrepreneurs and that’s what we do,” Wegdam said.


Virginia
Virginia's Supreme Court lifts freeze on evictions; Stoney pledges CARES Act funds to address issue

Evictions can resume in Virginia next week after the state’s high court lifted a ban on eviction hearings in response to COVID-19.

The ban, instituted initially in March and extended earlier this month, expires June 28. According to an order from Virginia Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Lemons, which is in effect through July 19, eviction hearings can resume June 29, the same day the state is set to roll out a rent relief program. The decision puts nearly 2,000 families in Richmond, which has one of the country’s highest eviction rates, in danger of eviction.

Rob Poggenklass, an attorney with the Legal Aid Justice Center, criticized the decision not to extend the eviction ban.

“We’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” Poggenklass said. “We’re literally pulling people into our courtrooms in the middle of a global pandemic to kick them out of their homes for not paying rent when many people still aren’t working. It’s totally reckless.”

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Monday that the city is using $6 million of the $20.1 million it received through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to fund an eviction diversion program and provide rental assistance to residents.

A city news release said the money would help people currently facing eviction and those at risk of eviction because of coronavirus-related economic challenges.

“From both a human services and a public health perspective, it is paramount that Richmond residents do not face housing insecurity during this pandemic,” Stoney said in a statement. “In the long-term recovery from this crisis, we want to make sure the city’s doing everything it can to empower residents, especially during the most challenging moments of their lives.”

Stoney’s office said roughly 1,900 households in the city face a pending eviction.

Richmond had the second-highest eviction rate in the country as of 2016, according to research from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. As a state, Virginia’s 5.12% eviction rate, representing the number of evictions per 100 rented homes, was above the national average.

Gov. Ralph Northam asked earlier this month that the eviction ban be extended to give his administration time to announce a rent relief program that also is expected to use CARES Act funds.

Northam spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky said the administration is in the process of finalizing the program, with additional details to be announced this week. The program will be rolled out Monday, she said.


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Virginia
Gade wins GOP nod to challenge Warner; Dems pick Webb to face Good in 5th; Rashid to face Wittman in 1st

A U.S. Army veteran whose right leg was amputated after he was wounded in Iraq will represent Republicans in the party’s bid to unseat Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., in November.

Daniel Gade, who teaches at American University and resides in Alexandria, defeated Army reservist Thomas Speciale and Nottoway County civics teacher Alissa Baldwin and will run against Warner.

The race was the only statewide primary on Tuesday in an election in which poll workers took extra precautions due to the continued spread of COVID-19.

Locally, voters renominated Rep. Donald McEachin, D-4th, and picked Democrat Qasim Rashid to run against Rep. Rob Wittman, R-1st, to represent a district that includes Hanover County.

In other races of note, former Rep. Scott Taylor cleared his first hurdle in his bid to win back his former Virginia Beach-based U.S. House seat, beating two GOP rivals and securing a rematch against Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd.

In the 5th District, Cameron Webb secured the Democratic nomination to take on Republican Bob Good, who ousted Rep. Denver Riggleman in a GOP convention after Riggleman officiated a same-sex wedding.

Statewide, Gade will look to become the first Republican to carry Virginia since 2009, when Bob McDonnell led a GOP sweep for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Since President Donald Trump’s 2016 election the GOP has lost ground in the state, ceding its control of the legislature and the majority in the state’s Congressional delegation.

Gade matches up against a favored incumbent seeking his third term. Warner, a former governor, is likely to benefit this year from higher name recognition, a big fundraising advantage and the higher turnout of a presidential election that traditionally boosts Virginia Democrats. Warner narrowly won re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.

“I’m not taking anything for granted,” Warner said during a virtual town hall Monday, the same day he challenged the eventual nominee to three debates. “I’m going to welcome whoever is the Republican opponent into the race and I intend to leave no part of Virginia behind.”

Republicans chose Warner’s 2014 opponent, eventual gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, through a convention. This year, the party opted for a primary, with voters backing Gade, the recipient of the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

The father of three received 67% of the vote, according to unofficial results from the Virginia Department of Elections. Baldwin received the second-most support at 18%, followed by Speciale at 14%.

“Republicans have a real opportunity this year,” Gade said at his watch party in Northern Virginia. “We can win on the issues. We can win on issues that matter at kitchen tables in Virginia like health care, economic recovery and rights that are under attack from Virginia and Washington Democrats.”

Baldwin did not return a phone call Tuesday night seeking comment, but backed Gade in a Facebook post.

“We came up short in being the Republican nominee to send Warner home, but what an amazing journey we have shared together,” Baldwin said. “Your support for the Baldwinning2020 vision was and is greatly appreciated.”

Speciale, reached by phone Tuesday night, said he’s conceded to Gade and endorsed him. He added that he’s happy with the campaign he ran.

“We did everything right,” he said about his campaign. “We’re going to do everything we can to help Daniel get elected.”

1st District

Lavangelene “Vangie” Williams won’t get a rematch with Wittman.

Rashid, who last year lost to state Sen. Richard Stuart, R-King George, defeated Williams in the Democratic primary. Williams, a strategic analyst for a federal contractor, lost to Wittman in the 2018 general election.

This year Democrats backed Rashid, a women’s-rights lawyer and Pakistani immigrant, in hopes of flipping a district that covers parts of Prince William County at its northern point, the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck, and Hanover County in the Richmond area.

Rashid received 52.9% of the vote, according to the unofficial results, compared with Williams’ 47.1%. It was the closest race among the seven congressional primaries on Tuesday.

Wittman, a six-time incumbent, did not face a primary challenger.

4th District

McEachin, who was first elected to Congress in 2016 after more than a decade in the state legislature, easily won the Democratic nomination to represent a district that includes the cities of Richmond and Petersburg, as well as southern Chesterfield and eastern Henrico counties.

The 58-year-old received 80% of the vote, according to unofficial results. Cazel Levine, a Chesterfield resident who would have been the first woman to represent the 4th District, received 20% of the vote.

“I want to thank the Democrats of Virginia’s 4th Congressional District for their confidence and support,” McEachin said in a statement. “Together, we have made progress and, together, we will work to make Virginia and the nation an even more progressive and inclusive place.”

Republicans are scheduled to hold a convention Saturday to nominate an opponent.

Poll issues

In Virginia Beach, many voters had to cast provisional ballots in each of the city’s roughly 100 precincts.

Virginia Department of Elections Commissioner Chris Piper said Tuesday morning that electronic poll books in the state’s largest city were programmed incorrectly, meaning poll workers were unable to check in voters. Those voters cast provisional ballots, Piper said, which take longer to process than a regularly cast ballot.

Piper said Tuesday night that poll books for every precinct were restored around 2 p.m.

The state Elections Department also reported two power outages at precincts in Henrico County, two in Loudoun County and one in Franklin County, which was caused by a snake getting into a generator.

“No word yet on which campaign the snake worked for, but we’re looking into that as well,” Piper joked.

In Prince George County, Robert Hoekman, who signed up to be a poll worker, said he got to his precinct around 4:30 a.m. and saw about 10 other volunteers not wearing personal protective equipment. Hoekman, like many others, has spent the past several months avoiding people not wearing masks and has only gone into his Petersburg office a few times.

Wary of catching COVID-19, Hoekman decided not to work the polls.

“I’ve been diligently trying to avoid catching COVID-19 and I was about to walk into basically a fishbowl full of staff who were taking no precautions,” he said, “so I thought it seemed way too risky.”

Prince George County Registrar Allan Richeson said in an interview that the workers not wearing PPE were in the process of setting up the polling place, but had the necessary equipment.

“They do have all the PPE,” Richeson said.

The Virginia Department of Elections distributed gloves, masks, face shields and hand sanitizer, to local election officers. It also distributed single-use pens and folders, which officials also used during last month’s municipal elections.

Gov. Ralph Northam pushed those elections, held May 19, back two weeks in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which he also did for Tuesday’s elections, which were initially scheduled for June 9. State officials urged voters to cast their ballots absentee to avoid large crowds at polling places.

Democrats in the state took them up on the advice more than Republicans.

According to statistics from the Virginia Department of Elections, 58,939 people requested absentee ballots for the Republican primary, far fewer than the 118,181 requested for the Democratic primaries. Many voters listed “disability or illness” as their reason for asking for an absentee ballot, the justification Northam suggested they use.

Tuesday’s election was the final one where voters were required to list one of a number of state-authorized excuses for why they cannot vote in person on Election Day, such as a work, family or school obligation or an out-of-town trip.

A law set to take effect July 1 allows for no-excuse absentee voting.


Virginia
WATCH NOW: Northam says Virginia will move to Phase Three on July 1

Virginia will move onto the third phase of the state’s gradual reopening from COVID-19 on July 1, state officials announced Tuesday.

Phase 3 will allow for social gatherings of up to 250 people from the current limit of 50 people, and will also allow for restaurants and retail businesses to operate at full capacity.

Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday that Phase 3 will still carry some restrictions necessary to prevent the number of COVID-19 cases from spiking, as has occurred in other states.

“It still means you’re safer at home, especially if you’re vulnerable. We’re still strongly encouraging teleworking,” as well as social distancing and facemasks, Northam said.

In defending his decision, Northam said that the rate of positive cases among those tested hovers at 6.4% and continues on a downward trend. Northam added that testing in the state has surpassed the goal of 10,000 tests per day on average.

Last week, Northam said that in Phase 3 gyms and fitness centers will be able to operate at 75% capacity, as will swimming pools. Entertainment venues, including amusement parks, can open at 50% capacity, or a maximum of 1,000 people.

Hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to open completely. So can child care centers. Overnight summer camps will remain closed, Northam said during a news conference in Northern Virginia. Teleworking will also continue to be strongly encouraged.

The state’s guidelines recommend continued social distancing of 6 feet. Face coverings will also still be required, Northam said.

Northam’s announcement was met with relief from the state’s business community.

Nicole Riley, the state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, which has roughly 6,000 members in Virginia, said the decision to enter the third phase before July 4 is “welcome news.”

“Retailers and restaurants were unable to open and lost significant revenue on Easter, Mother’s Day and even during the graduation season, so these business owners hope the community will come out and support them by going out to celebrate on the Fourth of July as the limited capacity rules are lifted,” Riley said. “It will still be a slow road back for small businesses, and many in Virginia believe it could be next year before they fully recover.”

Daily numbers

The Virginia Department of Health reported Tuesday that the statewide total for COVID-19 cases is 58,994 — an increase of 529 from the 58,465 reported Sunday.

The 58,994 cases consist of 56,452 confirmed cases and 2,542 probable cases. There are 1,645 COVID-19 deaths in Virginia — 1,542 confirmed and 103 probable. That’s an increase of 25 from the 1,620 reported Monday.

The VDH defines probable COVID-19 cases as people who are symptomatic with a known exposure to COVID-19, but whose cases have not been confirmed with a positive test.

In the Richmond area, there are 7,540 cases: 2,651 in Chesterfield County, 2,448 in Henrico County, 2,031 in Richmond and 410 in Hanover County.

Also, the region has 242 deaths attributed to the virus: 138 in Henrico, 49 in Chesterfield, 30 in Richmond and 25 in Hanover.

Fairfax County, the state’s most populous locality with more than 1.1 million people, has the most cases with 13,579 and 445 deaths.

Only Bath County doesn’t have any confirmed cases.

As the overall number of positive COVID-19 test results in Virginia grows, data from the VDH coronavirus dashboard shows the percentage of positive results from testing is down. The seven-day average for percentage of positive test results was at 6.14% as of June 15, which is the most recent figure provided by the VDH. That’s down from a peak of 22.2% on April 19.

VDH data shows most cases (78.7%) are occurring in adults between the ages of 20 and 69. The majority of deaths (76.2%) are among Virginians over the age of 70.

The VDH said there are 433 outbreaks in the state, 231 in long-term care facilities. Such facilities account for 1,013 of the state’s deaths attributed to the virus.

State health officials have said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers on the VDH website. Figures on the website might not include cases or deaths reported by localities or local health districts.