ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – WFXR News hosted a Digital Special Report to discuss how the coronavirus is impacting Virginians.
WFXR’s Digital Executive Producer Ryan Saylor talked with Richmond Bureau Reporter Jackie DeFusco about the latest numbers in Virginia:
- As of Wednesday morning, there were 77 cases across the state (10 more than yesterday);
- There are two “outbreaks” in Richmond which means that two or more cases can be traced to a common exposure;
- Before today, the only known outbreak in the state was in James City County;
- There could be many more cases – those are only the ones we know about.
Regarding testing capacity being limited across the country and here in Virginia, DeFusco mentioned the following:
- Testing capacity remains limited in Virginia;
- As of Wednesday morning, the state lab had supplies to collect samples from up to 360 people;
- Virginia’s lab director says they are doing everything in their power to get more testing kits but are still on back-log from the CDC;
- Officials do expect drive-thru testing to become available in the state but the Governor says that will still be limited to high-risk groups like those in nursing homes and those who have been in contact with a known case.
There is also new information about the capacity of Virginia’s medical system to deal with COVID-19. DeFusco said:
- Virginia’s Secretary of Health said there are nearly 2,000 ICU beds with respiratory support equipment across the commonwealth;
- There are also about 400 emergency ventilators that can be deployed to hospitals as needed;
- There is a national stock-pile that the state could tap into;
- Social distancing is still the key to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The state gave their first guidance on childcare centers. The latest information from DeFusco included:
- The Department of Social Services Commissioner said because daycare centers are private businesses, they cannot mandate them to close;
- They are asking these centers to limit classrooms to 10 people (staff and students included);
- The Department is asking parents to keep their children at home, if they can, to free up space for children of healthcare workers.
Congressman Ben Cline was also on-hand and discussed happenings in Washington which included:
- Several town hall meetings were scheduled this week but were canceled due to the coronavirus response;
- Cline voted against a bill early Saturday morning to provide sick leave and pay for coronavirus testing but said the technical corrections tot he bill this week were an improvement he supports;
- There are still many questions about what comes next with President Trump supporting an economic stimulus of some sort;
- Cline’s office will remain open to help constituents as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
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