Virginia cases up to 94, but count lags
Reporting cutoff means information is 19 hours old by time state announces it
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Virginia has climbed to nearly 100, a statistic that was nearly a day old by the time state officials reported it Thursday.
The 94 cases is up from the 77 the Virginia Department of Health reported on Wednesday, with a total of 1,923 people having been tested for the virus and 19 people hospitalized. The cases include at least six in Chesterfield County, three in Richmond, three in Henrico County, one in Goochland County, one in Hanover County and one in Charles City County, according to VDH.
Those figures, however, are roughly 19 hours old by the time they’re posted to the agency’s website. State epidemiologist Lilian Peake said the lag is caused by a 5 p.m. cutoff the day before the Health Department’s noon update so officials can validate the information.
“We’re not trying to restrict that information,” Peake said. “We’re making sure that the local health departments and others are following up on any cases and if they need to put out a press release to let people know, they will do that. There will always be a lag.”
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said Wednesday that the city had four cases.
The Charlottesville-area health district reported Thursday morning that three more people had tested positive, bringing the city’s unofficial count to four. When the state Health Department updated its count at noon, it reported one case.
Peake, in a Thursday afternoon news conference with other state leaders, including Gov. Ralph Northam, said the state’s testing capacity has now grown to 1,000 tests. It remains unclear how many tests private labs are conducting.
In Northern Virginia, the city of Alexandria and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William combine for more than 50 cases. Also, James City County in Hampton Roads has 14 cases.
A new case in Fairfax County is a man at an assisted living facility, the second in the state as concern mounts over the elderly, who are most susceptible to the virus.
The uptick in confirmed cases comes as officials continue their efforts to control the spread of the virus and deal with its implications.
Law enforcement, along with fire and ambulance agencies in the Richmond area, are meeting to coordinate with the Virginia Department of Health. The Northam administration announced more action, including an extension on the due date of tax payments. The state’s delegation in the U.S. Senate is debating a proposal to send checks directly to Americans.
Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran spoke as Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey (left) and Gov. Ralph Northam listened during a news conference Thursday in Richmond.