Coronavirus in Virginia: Thursday afternoon update

Digital Originals

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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