Latest News: COVID-19 in Virginia
Virginia is under a state of emergency and the governor has issued a stay-at-home order. This page will continue to be updated with information and articles, but please follow resources like the Virginia Department of Health page for urgent information and safety news. We hope you'll contact us with questions, feedback, or concerns.
April 7, 2020
- 3:35 p.m. - Recap and full video of the briefing are live.
- 2:54 p.m. - Briefing wraps up - we'll post a recap and full video shortly.
- 2:20 p.m. - Northam says the state is looking at how existing racial disparities are reflected in COVID-19 impact. One of 12 states collecting this data, but the data collection isn't uniform, and he says the state is working with private labs, hospitals, and doctors to ensure that racial and ethnic information is universally collected.
- 2:10 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam announces he is postponing June 10 primary to June 23 to allow in-person voting and limit risk of COVID-19 infection.
- 2:00 p.m. - Briefing is live - watch on VPM.
- 9:14 a.m. - Updated numbers from Va. Dept. of Health show 30,645 tests administered, 75 deaths, an increase of 12 since yesterday, 615 hospitalizations, and 3,645 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
April 7, 2020
- 10:31 a.m. -Child Savers, a Richmond-based non-profit, provides guidance on helping kids adjust to the 'new normal' of coronavirus.
- 9:22 a.m. - Va. Dept. of Health updated total numbers today: A total of 28,645 tests administered, and 563 Virginians have been hospitalized. A total of 3,333 cases have been confirmed, and there have been 63 deaths.
April 6, 2020
- 9:22 a.m. - 28645 3,333, 563 63
- 4:57 p.m. - Charlottesville Area Community Foundation announced a contribution of $1 million from the University of Virginia to the Community Emergency Response Fund. The fund was established to provide flexible resources to households and organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 3:04 p.m. - During the briefing, several questions about a new projection for an earlier COVID-19 peak - Northam and officials questioned the accuracy of the model, and said the state was not working to meet that earlier peak. Briefing recap is now live.
- 2:32 p.m. - Lots of questions today - many of them on our Twitter thread.
- 2:13 p.m. - New model is coming soon, Dr. Oliver says - says he's seen the model from Washington that shows heavy variability in Virginia.
- 2:11 p.m. "There are many people with COVID-19 who are walking around in our community," says Dr. Oliver. Due to a lack of testing, the confirmed cases number lags far behind the actual rate of infection.
- 2:05 p.m. - Northam says he encourages everyone to wear a face covering when they go out - wash it daily, and don't touch your face while using it.
- 2:02 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam says people are heeding the stay-at-home order - thanks everyone for not congregating in the parks.
- 1:59 p.m. - Briefing beginning momentarily.
- 1:03 p.m. - The governor's briefing runs at 2 p.m. - stream it on the VPM site.
- 11:58 a.m. - New numbers from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. They're tracking people in the hospital with pending COVID-19 numbers, too, which shows a total of 1,194 people hospitalized - many more than the 497 the health department is listing. The difference is that the health department is listing only people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 - the association is listing possible COVID-19 patients. Their full data shows a range of criteria they're following.
- 9:18 a.m. - Va. Dept. of Health numbers updated today: 24,521 tests have been administered. Hospitalizations have risen to 497, an increase of 185 since Friday, and 54 deaths have been recorded. Confirmed cases increased to 2,878 - an increase of more than 800 since Friday. Over the weekend, the number of deaths fluctuated from 52 to 51 - we'll update this page when we find out why.
April 5, 2020
- 9:53 a.m. - Va. Dept. of Health numbers updated today: 23,671 tests have been administered, 431 people are hospitalized, and 51 have died. Confirmed cases have risen to 2,637. The death total is a decrease since yesterday - we'll update this when we know why.
April 4, 2020
- 9:58 a.m. - Va. Dept. of Health numbers updated today: 21,552 tests have been administered, 390 people are hospitalized, and 52 have died. Confirmed cases have risen to 2,407.
April 3, 2020
- 5:12 p.m. - State psychiatric hospitals are starting to see cases of COVID-19 among their staff - no patients have tested positive, and facilities have already barred visitors to protect the people they serve.
- 2:45 p.m. - The state has expanded its unemployment staffing and capacity, Northam says.
- 2:32 p.m. - The state tested all residents at Canterbury Rehabilitation - VPM has reported on this facility and its surge in COVID-19 cases.
- 2:29 p.m. - The budget will face steep cuts, which may affect popular programs Democrats passed this year.
- 2:15 p.m. - Northam announced federal money to help shelter people without homes.
- 2:04 p.m. - Briefing begins.
- 1:10 p.m. - In about an hour, Gov. Ralph Northam will give his regular briefing on coronavirus. Stream it from VPM starting at 2 p.m.
- 10:00 a.m. - Va. Dept. of Health numbers updated today: 19,005 tests have been administered, 312 people are hospitalized, and 46 have died. Confirmed cases have risen to 2,012.
April 2, 2020
- 7:11 p.m. - Pres. Donald Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration to help Virginia respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Ralph Northam requested this federal assistance on Monday. This designation allows state agencies, local governments and certain non-profits to buy additional supplies and be reimbursed for COVID-19 expenses by the federal government. The funding could be used for medical care, food, water and other emergency operational costs. Northam says this funding will support efforts to “keep Virginians safe.”
5:53 p.m. - The Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice says two non-security employees at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19. These employees came in close contact with one another and were asymptomatic when last reporting to work, but developed symptoms a few days later. The employees had limited contact with youth and are being treated at home. No youth inmates have tested positive for COVID-19.
- 1:40 p.m. - A nursing home in Henrico has seen more COVID-19-related deaths, rising to 16, including five over the last 24 hours. Ninety-two residents have confirmed coronavirus cases. Catherine Komp reported on families of patients yesterday for VPM.
- 1:28 p.m. - City of Richmond will offer $20,000 loans to small businesses hurt by coronavirus closures.
- 11:58 a.m. - The governor is about to begin his Twitter question and answer session - ask questions with the hashtag, #AskGovNortham.
- 11:47 a.m. - A Bon Air Juvenile Justice Center employee tested positive for COVID-19 - the facility says the worker had no close contact with youth. The facility has been closed for visitations since March 13.
- 9:27 a.m. - Today's numbers from the Va. Dept. of Health show 17,589 tests, in line with the 2,000 or so tests per day the state has been processing. They also report 246 hospitalizations, 41 deaths, and 1,706 confirmed cases of #COVID-19 in Virginia.
April 1, 2020
- 6:53 p.m. - Gov. Northam will hold a tele-conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. to speak with constituents about the response to COVID-19 and paid family leave and sick days. Attendees can register with the partner organization, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy Virginia. He'll also answer questions over Twitter on any COVID-19 topic, starting at 12 p.m., through the hashtag, #AskGovNortham.
- 5:14 p.m. - The Richmond YWCA is offering preschool to young children of essential workers. The center will be open for children from 18 months to five-year-olds, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The preschool is charging $250 per week, which covers food and diapers, but a sliding scale and scholarships are available for qualifying families. To apply for one of the 55 slots, email [email protected].
- 2:58 p.m. - Governor Northam said a 15-20 minute turnaround time on tests is in the pipeline, along with antibody tests to see if someone had COVID-19 and already recovered. The antibody test is a finger-prick blood sample - like a blood sugar test.
- 2:35 p.m. - Virginia’s State Council of Education, known as SCHEV, created a webpage to help college students navigate these challenging times. Online resources are tailored to students, parents and institutions.
- 2:30 p.m. - A recording of the briefing is available for viewing.
- 2:20 p.m. - Big data news - state official says a model they've collaborated on with the University of Virginia should be available for the public soon. This will help people to know when the peak may come, and what the state is basing its decisions on.
- 2:19 p.m. - Elections are coming up - local in May and congressional primaries in June - and Northam says he encourages people to use absentee ballots by mail.
- 2:11 p.m. - Virginia has received a third shipment of protective equipment from the federal government, and Northam says we still need more.
- 1:54 p.m. - The governor's life briefing begins momentarily.
- 9:03 a.m. - Another 2,000 tests have been administered, reports the Va. Dept. of Health, for 15,344 total. The updated statistics show 208 total hospitalizations, 34 deaths, and 1,484 total cases of COVID-19. As Ben Paviour reported, those confirmed cases are the 'tip of the iceberg' - many more people have mild coronavirus cases.
March 31, 2020
- 7:04 p.m. - Richmond city health officials confirmed two deaths in the city, the first since coronavirus was detected in Virginia. Both men were Greyhound employees who had attended a training in a New Jersey hotel where multiple people were exposed to coronavirus.
- 6:06 p.m. - Petersburg Area Transit suspending all service to prevent spread of coronavirus.
- 11:11 a.m. - U.S. Department of Education has given Virginia permission to cancel federally mandated Standards of Learning tests. This ends a period of uncertainty for families, children, that began when schools were closed.
- 9:43 a.m. - Virginia is extending certification for core assistance programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Child Care Subsidy programs. Households whose certification periods end between March and May 2020 will have services automatically extended for six months and will be notified by mail.
- 9:07 a.m. - Large increase in confirmed cases in Virginia, as testing increases rapidly. Va Dept. of Health reports 13,401 tests, 165 people hospitalized, 27 deaths, and 1,250 confirmed cases. The confirmed cases represents positive tests that have been processed - many tests dating as far back as March 23 are still being processed.
March 30, 2020
- 2:15 p.m. - Northam issued a "stay-at-home" order, limiting Virginians movement to slow the spread of coronavirus. He said he was convinced by seeing throngs of people gathering on the beaches over the weekend.
- 1:04 p.m. - Just about one hour until Gov. Ralph Northam offers a briefing on coronavirus response. He has said to expect a major announcement today. Stream it on vpm.org.
- 11:01 a.m. - Lastest numbers from the Virginia Department of Health show 25 deaths, 136 hospitalizations from COVID-19. Over 12,000 people have been tested and 1,020 confirmed to have coronavirus.
March 29, 2020
- 9:25 a.m. - New numbers from the Virginia Department of Health show 22 people have died after being diagnosed with COVID-19, including the first person in the Petersburg area. There was a 151 increase in cases from Saturday, and 10,600 Virginians have been tested for the disease. The first cases of COVID-19 were also identified in Emporia and Greenville County this weekend.
March 28, 2020
- 11:04 a.m. - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney held a Facebook briefing, and said he intends to send a letter to the Governor asking him to suspend rent and mortgage payments during this time. He also tweeted out a copy of his letter to Northam asking him to allow restaurants to allow the pick-up and delivery of mixed drinks.
- 10:33 a.m. - Late last night, Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted that U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved Virginia’s funding to the Virginia National Guard. “We are grateful for this support from the federal government and our representatives in Washington -- together we will defeat this #COVID-19.”
- 10:30 a.m. - The Supreme Court of Virginia is extending its emergency judicial order until April 26, halting all nonessential proceedings.
- 10:22 a.m. - 99 people have been hospitalized from COVID-19, up from 83 on Friday morning. According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, 17 also died from the disease. The locality with the most COVID-19 cases is Fairfax, at 156. The data shows Richmond with 20 confirmed cases, Henrico with 31 and Chesterfield with 12.
March 27, 2020
- 2:50 p.m. - Northam answers a reporter asking why he won't issue a "stay at home" order by saying it's "semantics" - says he's been clear that we should all stay at home, but says enforcement of an order would be a challenge.
- 2:15 p.m. - Going forward, Va. Health Dept. will update their coronavirus site at 9 a.m.
- 2:10 p.m. - Northam says he issued a joint call to President Trump with Maryland, D.C. for a national COVID-19 test site to serve the region.
- 2:05 p.m. - Northam says, "Virginians, stay at home" as his briefing begins.
- 12:28 p.m. - The Federal government has pushed back the deadline for obtaining REAL-ID until October 1, 2021. Virginia DMV offices remain closed until at least April 2 due to coronavirus.
- 12:09 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health update: 7,337 tests, 83 people hospitalized, and 14 deaths. Officials are also confirming 604 cases of coronavirus from across the commonwealth.
- 9:19 a.m. - VCU Health implements a temporary "no visitors" policy - with some exceptions - to increase safety for staff, patients.
- 9:11 a.m. - Gov. Northam is holding press briefings Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2 p.m. VPM is live streaming the briefings - you can watch on our site, or follow live updates on Twitter.
March 26, 2020
- 3:23 p.m. - Food distribution requirements for public school students have been lowered according to the USDA. Parents are not required to bring children to distribution sites, but must still verify they have eligible children to receive meals.
- 3:15 p.m. - As social distancing continues, localities are taking extra steps to limit gatherings in public spaces. In Chesterfield, the county is removing sports equipment, and in Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney has said he'll close down city parks if gatherings of 10 or more continue.
- 3:08 p.m. - Localities are adjusting their budgets to respond to economic forecast changes caused by coronavirus. Henrico and Chesterfield County are both announcing possible cuts and spending freezes.
- 12:54 p.m. - This is a bigger update than usual from the health department - in addition to new numbers, they've also released additional visualizations (scroll down past the map) on confirmed cases. While the numbers likely only show a small subset of total cases, they do give an indication of how quickly infections spread. It also illustrates how testing lags behind confirmation: Recent days show a misleading sharp decrease in infections. It's expected that those numbers will increase considerably when tests from that period are processed.
- 12:52 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health reports over 6,000 tests, 460 confirmed cases, 65 hospitalizations, and 13 deaths from COVID-19.
March 25, 2020
- 5:40 p.m.- UVA Health is now offering COVID-19 tests, it recently developed, to other hospitals. As of Tuesday night, UVA Health provided multiple tests for five hospitals in Virginia and one in North Carolina. UVA officials say the health system has offered to do up to 50 tests per day for other hospitals in the Commonwealth, for patients that meet clinical guidelines for testing. It is also working to increase the number of tests it can perform.
- 5:36 p.m. - Visitors will not be able to stay overnight at Virginia State Parks through April 30, to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease. Parks will be open, though, for people to visit during the day. This change will be effective Friday. Restrooms, visitor centers and other indoor facilities will also be closed to the public. State officials say reservations that have been made will be cancelled and automatically reimbursed.
- 12:32 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health update: 5,370 people have been tested, and 391 cases confirmed. Hospitalizations are up to 59, and nine people have died since the outbreak began.
March 24, 2020
- 2:12 p.m. - Northam is asked if President Trump's timetable of 19 days to ease restrictions is possible - "That's really not what the data tells us." Instead, he says to expect two to three months of coronavirus response to flatten the curve and limit overwhelming our healthcare systems, which in turn, would crash the economy. He adds: "The sooner we can put the health crisis behind us, the sooner our economy will recover."
- 2:05 p.m. - Virginia has received a national shipment of personal protective equipment, Gov. Northam says, with a second coming next week. Although: "We know it will not be enough, and this is an issue nationwide."
- 1:57 p.m. - Northam's daily briefing will begin momentarily.
- 1:43 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health site now shows full death count at seven, matching earlier reports of a death in Virginia Beach.
- 12:06 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health update: 45 people are now hospitalized, an increase of seven since yesterday, and 4,470 tests people have been tested. The statewide health department still shows only six deaths, although Virginia Beach issues a press release yesterday announcing a patient with COVID-19 had died, which would raise the total to seven. Confirmed cases are now at 290.
- 11:15 a.m. - Stoney asks Richmond residents to not gather at public spaces - specifically naming Texas Beach and Pony Pasture. Large crowds have been spotted at these James River sites. Parks will be closed if people continue to gather.
- 11:00 a.m. - VPM will live stream Gov. Northam's 2 p.m. briefing today and every day until further notice. Refresh the page if you don't see the latest live stream.
- 10:30 a.m. - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced a total eviction freeze, in coordination with the sheriff and courts, "during this state of emergency."
March 23, 2020
- 3:19 p.m. - A Richmond police officer has tested positive for COVID-19. City officials said a preliminary investigation did not reveal any close contact with the public through her work, but they were continuing to evaluate any possible spread. A fellow officer who was in contact has self-quarantined.
- 2:14 p.m. - Food distribution will be coordinated through one number now - families are advised to text "FOOD" (English) or "COMIDA" (Español) to 877-877 to find nearby sites.
- 2:12 p.m. - New restrictions on businesses: effective midnight tomorrow, restaurants can only do carry-out, delivery, or curbside. Entertainment businesses and personal services - massage, spas, etc - must close. Non-essential retail may stay open, but only with 10 or less people in stores at a time. These restrictions will last at least 30 days.
- 2:07 p.m. - All k-12 schools will remain closed through the rest of the year.
- 2:04 p.m. - Northam confirms Dept. of Health numbers - over 3,600 tests administered.
- 1:13 p.m. - Department of Corrections will begin manufacturing non-medical grade masks (sneeze and cough guards) for use in correctional facilities.
- 12:58 p.m. - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has issued an opinion on electronic meetings for lawmakers, government officials.
- 12:14 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health has updated their site: 38 people are hospitalized and 6 have died. Another 360 tests have been administered, and 254 cases of coronavirus are confirmed. It is a modest increase over yesterday - experts say that the number will likely spike as testing increases, representing not a spike in new infections, but a spike in our ability to detect them.
- 11:29 a.m. - Gov. Northam will brief the public and press at 2 p.m. today via Facebook. The White House briefing will air around 5:30 p.m. and stream on our site.
March 22, 2020
- 6:45 p.m. - Three more deaths were reported since yesterday, all on the Peninsula, bringing the death toll to six. At this time, health officials do not know the exposure source.
- 11:58 a.m. - Va. Department of Health confirms numbers from press briefing: 219 confirmed cases, 32 hospitalized, and 3,337 tests.
- 11:51 a.m. - As testing expands, confirmed cases are likely to rise dramatically - today, 67 additional cases were confirmed. The state epidemiologist, Dr. Lilian Peake, said this reflects the increased number of tests available and says the number will go up as they confirm more cases.
- 11:43 a.m. - At the daily press briefing, Gov. Northam says they are increasing the amount of personal protective gear for healthcare workers and asking hospitals to reschedule elective surgeries.
March 21, 2020
- 8:59 p.m. - Fairfax County Health Department reports the death of a man in his 60s who was being treated for coronavirus; it marks the third coronavirus death in Virginia.
- 12:06 p.m. - Virginia Dept. of Health updated their website: 152 confirmed cases, 25 hospitalizations.
- 12:03 p.m. - White House briefing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET. Refresh this page to watch live.
- 11:58 a.m. - Northam says be wary of rumors: He's heard a rumor that the National Guard is mobilized. While the National Guard is ready to help and some members are transporting essential supplies, Northam says it is not mobilized.
- 11:55 a.m. - Officials confirm 152 cases of coronavirus in Virginia, a 38 increase over yesterday. As testing expands, it is expected that more cases will be detected.
- 11:42 a.m. - Gov. Northam announced slightly looser testing requirements for front line care workers and nursing home residents at today's briefing.
- 9:14 a.m. - Richmond Public Schools meal distribution plans have changed; they will be using buses for "grab and go" meals. Please check with your local school systems - meal distribution plans continue to remain in flux.
March 20, 2020
- 3:38 p.m. - State officials efforts to waive SOL requirements got a boost today - federal officials say they're planning to waive all federal requirements. They're also planning to allow borrowers to halt student loan payments for at least 60 days, interest free.
- 3:15 p.m. - Law enforcement warns that COVID-19 scams and hoaxes are increasing, and they've compiled resources on a web page for the public.
- 12:25 p.m. - Henrico County Schools extended their closure until at least Tuesday, April 14. Other school systems have also extended closures - keep checking your local school system website for the latest information.
- 12:04 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Health has updated their numbers: 114 cases, 20 hospitalizations, and 2 deaths.
- 12:03 p.m. - White House says international travel being severely curtailed.
- 11:49 a.m. - Live coverage of the White House coronavirus briefing beginning momentarily.
- 11:38 a.m. - He says over 16,000 claims for unemployment were filed yesterday, reflecting the thousands of Virginians who lost work due to coronavirus.
- 11:34 a.m. - During today's briefing, Gov. Northam announced 114 cases of COVID-19, including one in Southwest Virginia. Virginia has over 1,000 tests now, but must continue to pre-screen before administering tests.
- 10:00 a.m. - This morning, VPM launched an "audio diary" series - our first entry is from a single mother and community college professor.
March 19, 2020
- 3:25 p.m. - In addition: No tickets for expired vehicles for next 60 days, business sales tax payments deferred until April 20, and local law enforcement is asked to use summons instead of arrests when possible.
- 3:19 p.m. - Gov. Northam says all medicaid copays will be eliminate in response to the outbreak and prescriptions extended to 90 days.
- 12:07 p.m. - Va. Dept of Health updated their website a few minutes ago with new details: 94 confirmed cases, 19 people hospitalized, and two deaths. Nearly 2,000 have been tested, and drive through testing sites are operational in several areas.
March 18, 2020
- 5:12 p.m. - Petersburg Area Transit has limited its service "until further notice."
- 4:58 p.m. - Chesterfield Public Schools extending closure until "at least April 13."
- 4:13 p.m. - GRTC suspends fare collection on all service - including CARE - until further notice. Asks the public to only use buses for essential travel.
- 12:22 p.m. - The Virginia Health Department has updated their site with information shared by Gov. Northam earlier - 77 cases, 1,278 people tested. Currently, they're updating once daily at noon, but this may change.
- 11:09 a.m. - Gov. Northam says blood banks are running low and is encouraging healthy residents to donate blood - book an appointment with Red Cross to maintain social distancing.
- 11:08 a.m. - Note last update: Health experts advise that no area should be considered safe - limited testing means many cases may not be diagnosed. Social distancing and hygiene are recommended for everyone.
- 11:07 a.m. - Gov. Northam says 77 coronavirus cases - up 10 from yesterday. Breakdown: 14 in Central Virginia, 19 in Eastern, 39 in Northern, 5 in Northwest, and 3 outbreaks statewide. (Two or more cases traced to a common exposure.)
- 10:42 a.m. - Mayor Levar Stoney says Richmond will aid Gov. Northam in limiting restaurant service per yesterday's order. Four Richmond residents tested positive for COVID-19 - the four had recently returned from a trip to North Carolina.
March 17, 2020
- 6:42 p.m. - Northam issues executive order limiting all restaurants, theaters, and fitness centers to 10 patrons or less in order to inhibit the spread of coronavirus.
- 3:48 p.m. - Virginia Department of Corrections is indefinitely ending all inmate visits in response to coronavirus. In addition, volunteers will not be permitted at any facility.
- 1:11 p.m. - The Supreme Court of Virginia declared a judicial emergency yesterday - exemptions and more information available in PDF form.
- 11:14 a.m. - Gov. Northam says 67 confirmed cases in Virginia - urging no gatherings of 10 or more, applies to workplaces, restaurants.
- 11:01 a.m. - Yesterday, state officials confirmed the second death of a patient with coronavirus.
March 16, 2020
- 9:28 a.m. - School systems are providing information on meal pickup: See this Twitter thread for details as they become available.
March 15, 2020
- 4:35 p.m. - Governor Ralph Northam has banned gatherings of more than 100 people statewide to slow the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings of more than 50 people on Virginia’s peninsula are prohibited. Northam also announced that all local government buildings in that region are closed to the public for two weeks.
- The Peninsula Health District currently has identified eight cases in the region, which health officials are calling a “cluster”. That means the cases are the result of community transmission between individuals locally, not some other source, like international travel. Virginia Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said in a press conference that health officials have been unable to determine how the man who died contracted the virus.
March 14, 2020
- 7:30 p.m. - On Saturday, the Virginia Department of Health and the Peninsula Health District reported the death of a patient who previously tested positive for the coronavirus. They say the cause of death was respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19. The patient was a male in his 70s. Health officials declined to provide additional details about where the victim was located.
- 11:38 a.m.- GRTC says buses operating on normal schedules, but changes possible - follow their coronavirus updates to make sure your commute is unaffected.
March 13, 2020
- 3:18 p.m. - Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover and Henrico Counties join City of Richmond in declaring states of emergency. Officials say the declarations increase discretionary powers to respond to coronavirus, and urge residents to be engaged but not alarmed. Thirty cases of coronavirus have been confirmed by the Virginia Dept. of Health.
- 2:27 p.m. - Northam announced the closure of all Virginia K-12 schools for a minimum of two weeks to "reduce the spread of novel coronavirus."
- 11:50 a.m. - Chesterfield Public Schools closed as of Saturday, March 14 through at least Friday, March 27.
- 10:28 a.m. - City of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney declares a state of emergency over the same 30-day period as the emergency declaration issued by Gov. Northam yesterday.
- 10:23 a.m. - Both Charlottesville City Schools and Albemarle County Schools will be closed to students on Monday to train teachers and prepare for possible school closures. VPM recommends our listeners check with their local school system and sign up for text or email alerts if they are offered.
- 9:46 a.m. - VA Dept. of Health confirms coronavirus case in Harrisonburg.
- 9:32 a.m. - Tonight, VPM will air a special NPR broadcast on coronavirus - tune in at 8 p.m. on your smart speaker, our news stream, or 88.9 FM.
March 12, 2020
- 4:29 p.m. - RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras says schools will be open tomorrow so teachers can give students work to do from home, and additional materials will be available online. RPS staff will be paid during the break, and the district is planning to have a number of food distribution sites set up for students reliant on school meals.
- 4:08 p.m. - Richmond Public Schools will close for at least two weeks starting Monday, March 16.
- 3:58 p.m. - Henrico public school system will be closed to students at least until March 27.
- 2:36 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency, says it will help with protecting vulnerable populations and multi-state coordination efforts.
- 11:11 a.m. - State epidemiologist tells General Assembly they've confirmed 15 coronavirus cases.
- 11:03 a.m. - Many public events are being cancelled or postponed per Richmond city announcement. As VPM learns about cancellations, we're updating this Twitter thread.
- 9:37 a.m. - City of Richmond "recommends postponement or cancellation of large events within city limits" per press release.
- 9:22 a.m. - Longwood University confirms coronavirus in student - cancelling classes "through at least next Wednesday, March 18."
March 11, 2020
- 7:29 p.m. - More universities announce major changes. Virginia Commonwealth University will extend spring break, resume semester with online courses. William & Mary is suspending in-person classes, limiting travel. James Madison University is moving classes online. University of Richmond is also moving all classes online.
- 1:45 p.m. - University of Virginia has moved classes online, urges students to return home if possible.
- 1:36 p.m. - Richmond Public Schools cancelled all school and division sponsored travel outside the area.
- 1:28 p.m. - The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic.
- 11:31 a.m. - First coronavirus case in Central Virginia was announced - an international traveler in Hanover County is presumed positive.
March 10, 2020
- 3:15 p.m. - A coronoavirus case in Loudoun County is confirmed. VA Dept. of Health says the patient was exposed in a D.C. church.
- 3:12 p.m. - Virginia Festival of the Book cancelled. Organizers said it was an unacceptable level of risk at this time.
- 3:07 p.m. - Two coronavirus cases in Virginia Beach, says Dept. of Health. Officials say both individuals were exposed while travelling.
- 7:19 a.m. - Two new coronavirus cases confirmed in Virginia, says Department of Health, in Fairfax and Spotsylvania County, bringing total to five.
March 9, 2020
- 12:46 p.m. - A third case of coronavirus in a returned international traveler has been confirmed. Officials say chance of spread remains low.
- 12:17 p.m. - Chesterfield officials say coronavirus won't disrupt county finances, Ian Stewart reports.
The Virginia Department of Health announced a second presumptive case of coronavirus in the state on Sunday, March 8. Presumptive means a test performed locally found coronavirus, but the Center for Disease Control has not confirmed the test result.
In addition, six tests performed locally are pending, and 139 people are under public health monitoring. State health officials say it is likely the virus will spread through the state, but the immediate health risk is low. Both coronavirus patients were travelling overseas when they were exposed.
Dr. Gonzolo Bearman, chair of Infectious Diseases at VCU, says it’s important to see a healthcare provider if you think you’re sick.
“There’s no single identifying symptom or sign of a coronavirus, but it essentially mimics that of a severe upper respiratory infection or cold, or even a flu-like illness,” Bearman said. “If that’s the case, they need to go to their provider or primary care physician.”
Public health officials say you should call ahead first - staff may have special instructions to help prevent additional infections at the medical center. People who don't have insurance should still seek care. As with other patients, call ahead first, and there are a number of free clinics throughout the state that may be able to help.
As of May 2, Bearman said Virginians should be “concerned,” not panicked about the disease. He recommended people follow general health guidelines.
Bearman said that includes: “getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, performing frequent to often hand hygiene, practicing cough etiquette” and disposing of tissues used for coughing or sneezing appropriately and quickly. Like other health officials, Bearman says proper hand washing - 20 seconds, with soap and water - was one of the best ways to prevent spreading coronavirus. Anyone who feels sick should stay home from work, and should visit their primary physician or caregiver.
“Smokers need to stop smoking,” Bearman said. “If someone drinks excessively, certainly cutting back on the alcohol is very important, and get that flu vaccine.”
One thing Bearman cautioned against: hoarding supplies, particularly N95 masks, which can cause dangerous shortages for hospitals and caregivers. “A properly fitted N95 mask is effective in preventing transmission,” Bearman said. “However, the impact of those in a community setting by patients or folks who are not properly fitted for their use, in a low-risk environment, are minimal.”
VPM will update this page with news and resources as the epidemic continues.
Information and Resources
Virginia Department of Social Services
COVID-19 Page and Updates
Virginia Department of Education
Virginia Public Schools
National Alliance on Mental Health
National Institutes of Health
Resources from NIH
Clinical Trials Related to COVID-19
Coronavirus resources (National Library of Medicine)