coronavirus

COVID-19 virus

Two more residents from the Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center have died from the coronavirus, the facility's medical director Dr. James Wright confirmed Saturday evening, bringing the death toll from the Henrico center to eight.

Six of the eight fatalities are males, according to Wright. There are also now 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the facility, up from 19 on Friday. Six staff members as of Friday evening have also tested positive.

The facility will be testing the remaining patients early next week, Wright said. As of Friday evening, more than 50 Canterbury patients were experiencing coronavirus symptoms, according to Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts.

The age range of deaths at the Henrico facility varies between 62 and 94. A 67-year-old male was the first death on Monday, according to Wright. The other deaths are: a 68-year-old male, who died on Tuesday; a 77-year-old male who died on Wednesday; a 78-year-old male and a 76-year-old male who both died Thursday; and a 94-year-old male, a 62-year-old female and an 87-year-old female who all died Friday.


Weekly unemployment applications must be filed

Anyone who has filed an unemployment insurance application (UI), must then file a weekly claim for each week or they will not be paid, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

The VEC recommends the claim be done on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday of each week for anyone who remains unemployed and wants to be paid for the prior week.

To complete and submit a weekly UI payment request, call 1-800-897-5630 or visit vec.virginia.gov.


Another Henrico senior living facility tests positive for coronavirus cases

Two more residents at Henrico County's Beth Sholom Senior Living have tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday.

One is currently at a local hospital while the other is receiving treatment at the facility, announced CEO Morris Funk on Saturday. Both lived on the same floor of the skilled nursing care unit prior to being tested.

On Wednesday, Beth Sholom, located on John Rolfe Parkway, said a resident at one of its assisted living communities tested positive for COVID-19.

"Beth Sholom is staying in contact with the local health department and our team continues to work diligently to ensure we are following all CDC recommendations," said Funk in a statement Saturday. "In addition, health department officials are assisting us in determining how our three residents contacted the virus."

The facility is currently employing shelter in place guidelines. Staff who could've been exposed to the three patients are self-quarantining.


Fort Lee has second confirmed case

A dental worker at Fort Lee, a military base outside of Petersburg, and two workers for Bon Secours Health System have tested positive for the coronavirus.

He has been self-quarantined since March 13 and tested positive for COVID-19 on March 18, according to a press release from Fort Lee. It's not confirmed whether anyone who came in contact with the person has tested positive.

This is Fort Lee's second confirmed case. The first was an active duty service member in his 30s on Tuesday.

Bon Secours Health System, which operates four hospitals in the Richmond area and three in Hampton Roads, also has reported that two of its workers have tested positive for the virus. They and are being treated at Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville.

Both patients, in addition to individuals who potentially came in contact wit them, are being monitored by the Virginia Department of Health and Bon Secours.


VDH Reports 739 cases, 17 deaths

The Virginia Department of Health reported Saturday that 739 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.

That's an increase of 135 cases from the 604 reported on Friday.

The VDH also said that 9,166 people have been tested for the virus, 99 have been hospitalized, and there have been 17 deaths.

On March 19, state health officials said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers on the VDH website. Figures on the website might not include cases reported by individual localities or local health districts.

According to VDH data, Henrico County had the most confirmed cases in the region with 31, followed by Richmond (20 confirmed cases) and Chesterfield County, which has 12 confirmed cases.

Confirmed cases in the Richmond region:

- 31 in Henrico

- 20 in Richmond

- 12 in Chesterfield

- 6 in Louisa

- 5 in Goochland

- 3 in Hanover

- 2 in Prince George

- 1 in New Kent

- 1 in Hopewell

- 1 in Powhatan

- 1 in Charles City

Demographics of Virginia's confirmed cases as of March 28, provided by the Virginia Department of Health.

Demographics of Virginia's confirmed cases as of March 28, provided by the Virginia Department of Health.


NEWS FROM FRIDAY

Powhatan County's first confirmed case of COVID-19 hasn't been in the county during the time they've been sick, county officials said Friday.

In a news release, the county said it received word from the Virginia Department of Health that the first reported coronavirus case in Powhatan, released by the state health department Thursday, was a result of VDH's reporting protocol. That reporting protocol uses a patient's official address when VDH assigns a location for the case instead of where the person was residing or isolating.

"We have been told that this person has not been in Powhatan County during the time they have been ill," the county said. "County Emergency Management Officials remind citizens that this situation is very fluid and constantly changing, and confirmed case or not, we should all take precautions as if the virus is already in our community."

The county did not say where the person is self-isolating.

- Justin Mattingly


Spanberger, Riggleman urge Trump administration to order businesses to produce medical gear

Alarmed by the escalating threat of coronavirus in nursing homes, two Virginia representatives to Congress urged the administration of President Donald Trump on Friday to invoke wartime authority to order businesses to help produce face masks and other protective gear for workers in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-7th, and Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-5th, delivered a joint letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to use the Defense Production Act to increase supplies of personal protective equipment for nursing home employees.

“We write on behalf of the thousands of our constituents who live, work, or have family members in nursing homes to emphasize the need for urgent action to protect residents from the COVID-19 outbreak,” they said in the letter. “We urge you to take advantage of the authorities granted to you by the Defense Production Act to ensure that nursing homes receive enough personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Virginia public health officials say limited supply of protective gear may have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 that already has killed at least four residents and infected more than dozen others in a skilled nursing facility in western Henrico County, which lies in Spanberger's congressional district. Six health care workers at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center also have been confirmed with COVID-19, which can cause fatal respiratory failure.

"Unfortunately, nursing homes lack robust inventories of personal protective equipment," Spanberger and Riggleman said in the letter to Azar. "Worse still, supply chain practices prevent nursing homes from strictly restocking. When products go into shortabe, distributors limit clients' orders based on the client's recent order history."

"Limiting nursing homes' ability to purchase based on their purchasing history puts too many residents and staffers at risk of infection," they said in the letter, delivered shortly after the House of Representatives approved a $2 trillion stimulus package with economic relief for Americans, small and large businesses, and health care systems.

Both Riggleman and Spanberger voted for the CARES Act, which includes an additional $1 billion for an existing federal fund to pay for the costs of products ordered through the Defense Production Act.

"Inaction...is literally risking lives and will result in deaths," Spanberger said in an interview on Friday afternoon.

Spanberger and Riggleman cited the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Wash., a suburb of Seattle that became the gateway for the pandemic in the United States. COVID-19 killed at least 35 people, while sickening residents, home workers and visitors.

"It wasn't the circumstances in Washington [state] that allowed it to happen - it just happened there first," Spanberger said.

- Michael Martz


20200313_MET_VMFA_05

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will be closed for two weeks as part of an effort to thwart the spread of the virus. 

VMFA employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts has tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee began showing symptoms on March 14, the day after VMFA closed to the public, a museum spokesperson said. The employee sought medical attention and testing, and once positive test results were returned, on Wednesday, March 25, the employee notified their supervisor.

VMFA immediately notified employees who work with the affected employee. These employees are adhering to the 14-day isolation period recommended by the Virginia Department of Health.

Alex Nyerges, the VMFA's director and CEO, shared this information in an email to all VMFA employees, volunteers, and board members.

The VMFA will remain closed to the public through April 23, in accordance with the governor's mandate. VMFA’s public classes, programs, events, performances, and tours have been canceled through April 30.

The museum tentatively plans to reopen Friday, April 24, although that could change. The museum said that it would continue to follow recommendations provided by the state and the CDC.

- Colleen Curran


Northam says country needs 'national solution' for shortage of masks, gloves, other equipment

Gov. Ralph Northam said Friday the country needs a “national solution” to address the critical shortage of masks, gloves and other protective equipment.

Northam said that a stunted supply of personal protective equipment, in part due to manufacturing delays in China, has left Virginia and health care providers competing in the market for the needed goods.

“We’re all out there bidding literally against each other,” Northam said in a briefing with reporters. “Here in Virginia we’re bidding against our own hospital systems, other states and the federal government.”

Health care providers around the state, including nursing homes, have reported a quickly-diminishing supply of protective equipment to make sure doctors, nurses and caretakers are not exposed while caring for patients.

In a Thursday call with President Donald Trump and other governors, Northam said Trump was urged to use his executive powers to ramp up production of protective equipment and coordinate the distribution to those in need.

“Production and distribution of [personal protective equipment] really must be managed at the federal level,” Northam said. “There is no time to waste.”

Northam also said that in conjunction with officials in Maryland and D.C., he is asking the Trump administration to set up a federal testing site for the area, given the large number of essential federal workers that reside in the region.

“We have to be able to test these individuals in real time. Our specific region needs special accommodation for testing and bed capacity to support this population,” Northam said.

Trump will travel to Norfolk this weekend to see the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship that will travel to New York to expand hospital capacity, Northam said.

A spokeswoman for Northam, Alena Yarmosky, said Northam is not expected to meet or greet Trump.

- Mel Leonor



604 cases of coronavirus in 69 Virginia cities, counties

The Virginia Department of Health reported Friday that 604 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.

That's an increase of 144 cases from the 460 reported Thursday.

The VDH also said that 7,337 have been tested for the virus in Virginia. There have been 14 deaths and 83 people have been hospitalized.

There are confirmed coronavirus cases in residents of 69 of Virginia's 133 cities and counties.

These numbers come for the VDH website. On March 19, state health officials said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers, and figures on the website might not include cases reported by individual localities or local health districts.

Highest case rate per capita in Virginia

This uses March 27 data from the Virginia Department of Health and 2018 population estimates for Virginia cities and counties according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Highest case rate per capita Cases Rate per 100,000
James City County 55 72
Williamsburg 5 33.6
Arlington County 63 26.5
Charlottesville 11 22.9
Galax 1 15.6
Madison County 2 15
Charles City County 1 14.4
Louisa County 5 13.6
York County 9 13.3
Mecklenburg County 4 13.1
Goochland County 3 12.9

This is the breakdown of cases across the state according to the VDH website: 

Virginia cases by locality

Locality Total Cases
Fairfax 156
Arlington 75
James City 65
Prince William 56
Loudoun 54
Virginia Beach 35
Henrico 31
Alexandria 20
Richmond City 20
Albemarle 16
Newport News 13
Chesterfield 12
Charlottesville 12
Stafford 11
Norfolk 10
York 9
Chesapeake 7
Hampton 7
Louisa 6
Williamsburg 6
Fauquier 6
Gloucester 6
Harrisonburg 5
Goochland 5
Rockingham 4
Danville 4
Frederick 4
Mecklenburg 4
Manassas City 4
Portsmouth 4
Hanover 3
Isle of Wight 3
Madison 3
Fluvanna 3
Shenandoah 3
Spotsylvania 3
Amherst 2
Bedford 2
Culpeper 2
Lee 2
Mathews 2
Northumberland 2
Prince George 2
Rockbridge 2
Warren 2
Lynchburg 2
Accomack 2
King George 2
Nelson 2
Prince Edward 2
Roanoke County 2
Poquoson 2
Charles City 1
Greene 1
Halifax 1
New Kent 1
Northampton 1
Pittsylvania 1
Powhatan 1
Bristol 1
Amelia 1
Botetourt 1
Franklin County 1
Lancaster 1
Montgomery 1
Nottoway 1
Orange 1
Southampton 1
Washington 1
Fredericksburg 1
Galax 1
Hopewell 1
Radford 1
Suffolk 1

Woman in her 20s tests positive for COVID-19 in New Kent

The first case of COVID-19 in New Kent County was reported Friday morning by health officials. 

The Chickahominy Health District — which serves Charles City, Goochland, Hanover and New Kent counties — reported that a woman in her 20s has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The woman has been monitoring herself at home and her symptoms are resolving, a health district news release said.

According to statewide numbers released Thursday, this is the seventh case confirmed in the Chickahominy Health District: 3 in Goochland, 2 in Hanover, 1 in Charles City and 1 in New Kent. State numbers indicated that cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in residents of 62 of Virginia's 133 localities. This case would make that at least 63.


NEWS FROM THURSDAY

Most Virginia cases of COVID-19 are people in their 50s, 60s and 20s

The Virginia Department of Health released the demographics of the state’s 460 confirmed cases for the first time Thursday. It doesn’t yet include the same information for deaths and hospitalizations.

The chart provided by the health department breaks down these cases by age, sex and race.

Age groups 50-59 and 60-69 each make up 18.3% of confirmed cases, or 84 cases in both age group. That's followed closely by individuals aged 20-29 with nearly 16%, or 73 cases.

Age group 40-49 follows with 69 cases, then ages 30-39 with 67 cases.

There are 50 known cases of individuals aged 70-79; 22 cases for people aged 80 and over; 7 cases within the 10-19 age group; and 4 cases for kids 0-9 years old.

Women make up 211, or 45.9%, of cases while men are slightly higher at 242, or 52.6%. The sex for seven of the 460 individuals was not reported.

As for race, 280 cases did not have race reported, while 121 cases, or 26.3%, are white, 32 are Black and 27 cases are classified as other.

- Sabrina Moreno


Second Richmond police officer tests positive for COVID-19

A second Richmond police officer has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the department.

The most recent case was confirmed Thursday is a man in his 40s. Earlier this week, a female officer in her 40s tested positive after having recently traveled to New York.

Both officers worked in the department’s First Precinct, which covers Richmond’s East End and Manchester.

Danny Avula, director of the Richmond and Henrico County Health District, said Thursday that after the initial confirmed case, several officers were asked to self-quarantine.

“RPD reported out this morning that one of those individuals from the close circle of contacts did test positive,” Avula said. “They were already in isolation. Because of that close contact, they’ve been quarantined.”

It remains unclear if either officer had any contact with the public.

“Adjustments have been made and staffing remains adequate,” the department’s release said. “First Precinct headquarters has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.”

- Ali Rockett


2nd COVID-19 case reported in Prince George

A second person in Prince George County has tested positive for COVID-19, county officials said Thursday.

A man in his 70s has been hospitalized, but is in stable conditions, according to a statement from the Crater Health District.

The first positive case in the county was announced Tuesday. The man in his 30s is a California National Guard soldier stationed temporarily at Fort Lee. He has self-quarantined, officials said.

- Ali Rockett


Virginia coronavirus cases increase to 460 in 62 localities

The Virginia Department of Health reported Thursday that 460 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.

That's an increase of 69 cases from the 391 reported at noon Wednesday.

The VDH also said that 6,189 have been tested for the virus, and 65 have been hospitalized in Virginia.

There are coronavirus cases in 62 Virginia cities and counties, and there have been 13 deaths statewide.

Case for the Richmond area include 21 in Henrico, 14 in Richmond, 12 in Chesterfield and 2 in Hanover.

These numbers come for the VDH website. On March 19, state health officials said there’s a 19-hour lag in the reporting of statewide numbers, and figures on the website might not include cases reported by individual localities or local health districts.

This is the breakdown of cases by locality, according to the VDH website:

79 - Fairfax County

54 - Arlington County

49 - James City County

36 - Prince William County

28 - Loudoun County

26 - Virginia Beach

21 - Henrico County

14 - Alexandria

14 - Richmond

12 - Chesterfield County

9 - Charlottesville

9 - York County

8 - Newport News

7 - Stafford County

6 - Albemarle County

6 - Norfolk

5 - Williamsburg

4 - Chesapeake

4 - Louisa County

3 - Fluvanna County

3 - Goochland County

3 - Harrisonburg

3 - Manassas City

3 - Mecklenburg County

3 - Portsmouth

3 - Shenandoah County

2 - Accomack County

2 - Bedford County

2 - Culpeper County

2 - Danville

2 - Frederick County

2 - Gloucester County

2 - Hanover County

2 - Isle of Wight County

2 - Lee County

2 - Prince Edward County

2 - Rockingham County

2 - Spotsylvania County

1 - Amelia County

1 - Amherst County

1 - Botetourt County

1 - Charles City County

1 - Fairfax City

1 - Fauquier County

1 - Franklin County

1 - Fredericksburg

1 - Halifax County

1 - Hampton

1 - Lynchburg

1 - Madison County

1 - Mathews County

1 - Nelson County

1 - Nottaway County

1 - Orange County

1 - Pittsylvania County

1 - Poquoson

1 - Radford

1 - Roanoke County

1 - Rockbridge County

1 - Suffolk

1 - Warren County

1 - Washington County

(This is breaking news. This story will be updated.)


VCU move out coronavirus

VCU students move out their belongings from their dorm rooms as the university moves classes from in-person to online due to prevention of the coronavirus in Richmond, Va., on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

VCU converting dorm into overflow for non-COVID-19 patients; students weren't notified

Preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients that could overwhelm its existing facilities, Virginia Commonwealth University is converting its Honors College dormitory into overflow space for patients without the virus.

“We hope that there is no need to use the building for overflow low level acuity patients, but we consider it part of our community service mission to be prepared to help in this time of crisis,” the university said in a statement issued Thursday morning.

The statement said the dorm is “one of the sites” VCU has identified that could accommodate additional patients during the pandemic. A spokeswoman said there were “no other university properties planned for surge capacity.”

The VCU Health System is paying for the dorm’s conversion, but will seek reimbursement from federal emergency funds, a spokeswoman said.

A team of movers began emptying out the West Grace Street dorm on Wednesday. The building used to house a hospital and has about 180 rooms. VCU bought and converted it into student housing in 2001.

A video one of the movers took showed belongings in some rooms. The possessions were boxed up and taken to storage units, the university said in a statement.

Students who lived in the building learned the news as the video began circulating on social media Wednesday. Many said they were angered the school did not notify them.

The university apologized for not sharing the “emergency decision” with them beforehand.

“Unfortunately, this work began before we were able to notify students and their families of this emergency decision. We apologize for that. We are operating in a crisis situation with many moving parts. We will do better and ask for your understanding as we work through this crisis together. Our priority remains the health and safety of our students and our community.”

Two weeks ago, VCU was among the many Virginia universities that decided to close their residence halls as students switched to online instruction because of the spread of COVID-19.

On March 12, an announcement on VCU's housing website said students could leave items in the dorms and would be able to pick the belongings up at select times throughout the next week. The announcement also said card access would be shut off on Monday, March 16.

- Mark Robinson


Sentara says COVID-19 test results could take at least 10 days

Sentara Healthcare, the state's largest hospital system, said Thursday that due to increased volume it could take patients 10 days or longer to get results from COVID-19 tests.

Sentara has been offering drive-through screening at multiple locations in the Hampton Roads area since last week.

"As you are aware, there is a large increase in the number of COVID-19 tests being conducted throughout the country, including Virginia and North Carolina," Sentara said in a news release. "As a result, we are now experiencing longer turnaround times in receiving and communicating these results to patients."

- Paul Whelan


City of Richmond to close dog parks and some regular park gates Saturday

Richmond will close the city dog parks and some traffic gates beginning Saturday.

Barker Field, Chimborazo and Northside dog parks — as well as traffic gates at Byrd Park on Strollers Lane and Westover and Trafford roads — will close "in response to the coronavirus and concerns about public health and safety," the city’s department of parks announced Thursday.

The rest of Richmond's parks and trails remain open.

The traffic gate closures at Byrd Park are "aimed to reduce vehicle traffic within the park and allow patrons more space to move around," according to a news release.

Richmond had already banned the use of the city' athletic fields, picnic shelters, and park houses and cancelled all department programs and activities.

- Colleen Curran

Locality Total Cases
Fairfax 124
Arlington 63
James City 55
Prince William 44
Loudoun 43
Virginia Beach 29
Henrico 28
Alexandria 18
Richmond City 17
Chesterfield 12
Newport News 12
Charlottesville 11
Stafford 11
York 9
Albemarle 8
Norfolk 8
Chesapeake 5
Hampton 5
Harrisonburg 5
Louisa 5
Williamsburg 5
Danville 4
Fauquier 4
Frederick 4
Mecklenburg 4
Rockingham 4
Fluvanna 3
Gloucester 3
Goochland 3
Manassas City 3
Portsmouth 3
Shenandoah 3
Accomack 2
Bedford 2
Culpeper 2
Hanover 2
Isle of Wight 2
Lee 2
Lynchburg 2
Madison 2
Prince Edward 2
Prince George 2
Spotsylvania 2
Warren 2
Amelia 1
Amherst 1
Botetourt 1
Bristol 1
Charles City 1
Franklin County 1
Fredericksburg 1
Galax 1
Greene 1
Halifax 1
King George 1
Mathews 1
Nelson 1
Northampton 1
Nottoway 1
Orange 1
Pittsylvania 1
Poquoson 1
Radford 1
Roanoke City 1
Roanoke County 1
Rockbridge 1
Southampton 1
Suffolk 1
Washington 1
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