Va. to de­lay Phase Three of re­open­ing

Northam said he’s choos­ing to pro­ceed cau­tiously by track­ing COVID-19 data

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - BY JUSTIN MATTINGLY Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

Vir­ginia will not en­ter its third COVID-19 re­open­ing phase this week, Gov. Ralph Northam said Tues­day.

Much of Vir­ginia en­tered Phase Two on June 5, with Rich­mond and North­ern Vir­ginia lag­ging be­hind by a week. Un­der that phase, restau­rants can be filled to 50% ca­pac­ity in­doors and gyms can open at 30% ca­pac­ity.

The state will re­main in that phase for the time be­ing.

“I want to have more time to see how the num­bers look be­fore we make changes, es­pe­cially as we see surges in other parts of our coun­try,” Northam said.

The num­ber of con­firmed COVID-19 cases and deaths con­tin­ues to climb in Vir­ginia. The gov­er­nor en­cour­aged res­i­dents to con­tinue prac­tic­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing and wear­ing face masks.

“We know these things work,” he said.

Re­gard­ing plans for Phase Three, Northam said he will share more in­for­ma­tion Thurs­day dur­ing his reg­u­larly sched­uled news con­fer­ence.

Daily num­bers

The Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Health re­ported Tues­day that the statewide to­tal for COVID-19 cases is 55,331 — an in­crease of 445 from the 54,886 re­ported Mon­day.

The 55,331 cases con­sist of 52,917 con­firmed cases and 2,414 prob­a­ble cases. There are 1,570 COVID-19 deaths in Vir­ginia — 1,465 con­firmed and 105 prob­a­ble. That’s an in­crease of 18 from the 1,552 re­ported Mon­day.

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.

As the over­all num­ber of pos­i­tive COVID-19 test re­sults in Vir­ginia grows, data from the VDH coro­n­avirus dash­board show the per­cent­age of pos­i­tive re­sults from test­ing is down. The seven-day av­er­age for per­cent­age of pos­i­tive test re­sults was at 7.4% as of Fri­day, 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 (79.7%) are oc­cur­ring in adults be­tween the ages of 20 and 69. The ma­jor­ity of deaths (76.6%) are among Vir­gini­ans over the age of 70.

In the Rich­mond area, there are 6,793 cases: 2,311 in Hen­rico County, 2,259 in Ch­ester­field County, 1,848 in Rich­mond and 375 in Hanover County.

Also, the re­gion has 230 deaths at­trib­uted to the virus: 137 in Hen­rico, 39 in Ch­ester­field, 29 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 13,103 and 428 deaths.

VDH said there are 419 out­breaks in the state, 228 in long-term care fa­cil­i­ties. These fa­cil­i­ties also ac­count for 898 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.

Walk-up test­ing

Health Brigade, a char­i­ta­ble clinic, will be of­fer­ing free COVID-19 walk-up test­ing on Satur­day for the unin­sured and mem­bers of the lo­cal Span­ish-speak­ing com­mu­nity.

Test­ing will be from 9 a.m. to noon at the clinic at 1010 N. Thomp­son St. in Rich­mond. In a news re­lease, the clinic also said free test­ing would be avail­able ev­ery Satur­day from June through Au­gust, ex­cept for July 4.

Health Brigade has been pro­vid­ing health ser­vices for low-in­come Rich­mon­ders for more than 50 years and was known as the Fan Free Clinic for many of those years.

BOB BROWN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Gov. Ralph Northam said Tues­day at a news brief­ing that he’s look­ing at other states’ re­sults of re­open­ing pub­lic spa­ces to in­form Vir­ginia’s path for­ward.

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