Northam bans gatherings of 10 or more
‘Self-quarantine’ urged for seniors, those with chronic conditions; Va. deaths at 67
Virginia is amping up public efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, including a ban on gatherings of 10 people or more, given signs of community spread.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration issued an emergency order allowing law enforcement agencies to enforce the ban inside restaurants, gyms and theaters. How the ban will be enforced elsewhere, like workplaces and public spaces, remains unclear.
Northam also said that in order to protect “high-risk Virginians,” people who have chronic health conditions or who are 65 or older should “self-quarantine.”
Virginia Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said Tuesday that a “handful” of confirmed cases in Virginia have not been traced to other people confirmed to have the disease — hampering efforts to contain the virus.
“The likelihood of community spread is definitely there,” Oliver said.
State health officials said that some of the cases in the Peninsula region have resulted in a “cluster of illness,” while a case in Chesterfield County had not yet been connected to another confirmed case.
RIGHT: Gov. Ralph Northam, trailed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, walked into a coronavirus news conference in Richmond on Tuesday.
“When you’re starting to see community spread, the only measure you have is social distancing,” Oliver said.
Virginia on Tuesday had reported 67 cases of COVID-19, an increase of 16 cases in 24 hours. The number of confirmed Virginia cases has doubled every few days.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, eight people in the Richmond area have tested positive for COVID19 — four in Chesterfield, two in Henrico, one in Hanover and one in Goochland.
The most recent tally included the first case in a long-term care facility — a male resident in his mid-80s at the Westminster Canterbury Richmond retirement community in Henrico. The man, who is the second patient being treated at VCU Health, tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from a trip to Florida early last week.
The retirement community’s president, John Burns, said the campus had been on lockdown for over a week, decreasing the likelihood of spread. Twenty-five staff members who had been in contact with the patient were sent home to self-quarantine.
“We initiated aggressive and proactive efforts in tracking the travel of our residents and employees as well as implemented proactive screening procedures which we believe helped us manage this case as effectively as possible,” Burns said.
Gov. Ralph Northam requested that members of the media position themselves at least 6 feet from one another during Tuesday’s news conference in Richmond.
Staples Macdonald with The Hill Cafe said the restaurant is among those closing because of the coronavirus.