Vir­ginia cases up to 94, but count lags

Re­port­ing cut­off means in­for­ma­tion is 19 hours old by time state an­nounces it

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - Front Page - From staff re­ports

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.

BOB BROWN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

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.

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