Va. to delay Phase Three of reopening
Northam said he’s choosing to proceed cautiously by tracking COVID-19 data
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.
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.
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.
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.