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Latest News: COVID-19 in Virginia

Scientist looking at test sample
A scientist at a private health lab running COVID-19 testing. (Photo: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

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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.

June 4, 2020

  • 10:21 a.m. - We're behind with updating this blog, but hoping to catch up with numbers shortly. We'll have today's COVID-19 numbers from the health department shortly. There is no governor's briefing on the coronavirus today - instead, he'll be addressing protests and the monuments at 11 a.m. We'll cover that on web, radio, and social media.
  • May 29, 2020
  • 10:21 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 296,321 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,529 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,358 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 42,533.

May 28, 2020

  • 5:00 p.m. - Part of a street in Petersburg’s Old Towne Square was closed off today to increase space for outdoor dining, starting tomorrow. Three restaurants in the closed section of Sycamore Street will also be allowed to serve alcohol. City officials say the road will stay closed until Northam’s third phase of reopening begins.
  • 4:15 p.m. - Watch Gov. Ralph Northam's latest COVID-19 briefing.
  • 11:24 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 285,273 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,442 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,338 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 41,401.

May 27, 2020

  • 10:08 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 275,074 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,385 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,281 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 40,249.

May 26, 2020

  • 3:10 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam gave his regular briefing, which will occur Tuesday and Thursday for the future. Our recap and video are available.
  • 10:26 a.m. - This morning, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney requested a modified "phase one" reopening, effective this Friday, from Gov. Ralph Northam. Restrictions would remain in place for indoor religious services and salons and barbershops. State data shows the number of tests coming back positive is still trending upward, even as it’s going down state-wide. 
  • 10:21 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 265,279 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,325 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,236 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 39,342.

May 25, 2020

  • 9:30 p.m. - The Chickahominy Health District is holding a free, walk-up clinic at the Ashland Church of God on Thursday morning from 9 to 11:30. Adults and children 6 and over should call ahead at 804-365-3340 for screening and registration. The event will also offer walk-up registration and testing while supplies last until 11:15 a.m.
  • 8:50 p.m. - The Virginia Department of Health reported the second confirmed case of a pediatric inflammatory illness associated with the new coronavirus - the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children - in the Fairfax Health District. Last week, officials confirmed the state’s first case in the same area.
  • 5:34 p.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 256,913 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,269 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,208 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 37,727.

May 24, 2020

9:06 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 242,292 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,214 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,171 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 36,244.

May 23, 2020

9:30 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 258,163 swab and antibody tests have been administered. A total of 4,181 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,159 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 35,749. *Note: We accidentally retrieved the combined test number yesterday instead of the swab-only, hence the higher number.

May 22, 2020

  • 1:45 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will address the commonwealth on COVID-19 today at 2:00 p.m. - stream it on VPM. As usual, we'll live tweet and provide a recap after.
  • 10:31 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 223,433 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,145 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,136 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 34,950.

May 21, 2020

  • 12:06 p.m. - Large-scale appointment-only COVID-19 testing will happen in Petersburg starting Saturday at the Petersburg Sports Complex, 100 Ballpark Road, and run through May 30. Call 804-863-1652 to schedule an appointment.
  • 11:38 a.m. - Some legislators and the Virginia Poverty Law Center are calling on Gov. Ralph Northam to pause eviction proceedings during the pandemic, through at least Sept. 1. The Virginia Supreme Court rejected a request to freeze these hearings in Petersburg.
  • 10:51 a.m. - The Atlantic reports that it's not just Virginia that was counting antibody tests with swab tests - the Centers for Disease Control was, too.
  • 10:32 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated their coronavirus dashboard: 216,890 swab tests have been administered. A total of 4,093 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,099 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 34,137.

May 20, 2020

  • 4:04 p.m. - Chesterfield created an interactive map to help people find free public WiFi.
  • 3:25 p.m. - Today, Northam announced a new task force to identify ways to increase access to health care and reduce costs.
  • 2:00 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam addresses the commonwealth on COVID-19 today - stream it on VPM. As usual, we'll live tweet and provide a recap after.
  • 10:12 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated total numbers showing 210,965 swab tests have been administered. A total of 3,979 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,074 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 32,908.

May 19, 2020

  • 10:32 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated total numbers showing 201,183 swab tests have been administered. A total of 3,904 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,041 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 32,145.

May 18, 2020

  • 3:55 p.m. - Recap article and video are posted.
  • 2:00 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam is about to brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 today - stream it on VPM. As usual, we'll live tweet and provide a recap after.
  • 10:52 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated total numbers showing 194,677 swab tests have been administered. A total of 3,822 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 1,014 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 31,140.

May 15, 2020

  • 4:18 p.m. - Full video and recap posted.
  • 1:11 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 today around 2 p.m. - stream it on VPM. As usual, we'll live tweet and provide a recap after.
  • 10:54 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health updated total numbers showing 176,681 swab tests have been administered. A total of 3,657 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 977 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 28,672.

May 14, 2020

  • 5:31 p.m. - Northam has approved Stoney's request - Richmond will not reopen on Friday.
  • 4:25 p.m. - Stoney has officially requested a delay for Richmond's reopening, citing data furnished by the governor's office that shows a rise in cases in the city.
  • 11:31 a.m. - Today, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam requesting city-specific trend data or an exemption from the phase one reopening planned for tomorrow. Stoney says he requested city-specific data Monday and has not received it.
  • 10:15 a.m. - The Atlantic says "Virginia may be doing the worst job," in tracking the coronavirus outbreak, citing a report by Mel Leonor for the Richmond Times-Dispatch on the state combining two different types of COVID-19 tests. The health department responded this morning, claiming the combined numbers do not impact the overall trend line in a meaningful way.
  • 10:11 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health posted updated total numbers showing 185,551 tests have been administered to 164,486 people. A total of 3,592 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 955 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 27,813.

May 13, 2020

  • 8:28 p.m. - Video added to recap article.
  • 4:20 p.m. - Northam confirmed phase one of reopening will begin on May 15 - and Northern Virginia will delay. A recap is up. Apologies for technical issues that made the video stream fail. Video is coming later tonight.
  • 1:56 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 in just a few minutes - stream it on VPM.
  • 10:23 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health posted updated total numbers showing 180,084 tests have been administered to 160,077 people. A total of 3,520 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 927 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 26,746.

May 12, 2020

  • 4:21 p.m. - Chesterfield County is offering free COVID-19 testing tomorrow for residents of Chesterfield, Powhatan and Colonial Heights at the Greenleigh Mobile Home Park on Stevenhurst Drive. Testing is limited, and appointments are recommended; call 804-318-8207. Testing will also be available Friday, at the Bellwood Drive-In Flea Market on Jefferson Davis Highway. Spanish-speaking staff will be present.
  • 3:20 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam officially issued Executive Order 62, which would allow parts of Northern Virginia to delay the phase one reopening until May 28. The rest of the state is expected to enter phase one this Friday. According to a press release, the delay will give Northern Virginia more time to meet certain health metrics.

    9:35 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health posted updated total numbers showing 171,239 tests have been administered to 154,130 people. A total of 3,395 people were hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 891 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 25,800.

May 11, 2020

  • 6:35 p.m. - The state parole board has delayed the release of Vincent Martin in response to allegations that it did not properly notify the family of his victim, a police officer he was convicted of killing 40 years ago. The Office of the State Inspector General is investigating the allegations. The new chair of the board, Tonya Chapman, said the board made the right decision - and is looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation.
  • 4:14 p.m. - Briefing recap is online with full video.
  • 1:11 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 today around 2 p.m. - stream it on VPM.
  • 9:38 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 167,758 tests have been administered to 149,436 individuals. As reported in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the test numbers have increased rapidly because the state is now including unreliable antibody tests in the total. A total of 3,300 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 850 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 25,070.

May 10, 2020

  • 8:15 p.m. — State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver is ordering the City of Petersburg to turn back on the water for dozens of households that haven’t had access to the public utility in months. In a letter sent to the Petersburg city manager, Oliver said shutting off the water for residents endangers their health and the health of others during the pandemic. Last week, city officials these homes had their water shut off before the stay-at-home order, and that these residents owe millions of dollars in late payments.
  • 8:09 p.m. — The Virginia Dept. of Health is reporting 24,081 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease, up by nearly 2,000 from Friday.  Nearly 142,000 people have been tested and the state is reporting more than 3,200 people have been hospitalized. 

May 8, 2020

  • 5:15 p.m. - VCU will not raise tuition this year. Some fees will increase, including housing and dining, which VCU says is due to COVID-19. Students who need emergency assistance can apply for funds. A 24/7 financial aid hotline is open at 844-348-5073.
  • 12:11 p.m. - Virginia is rolling-out one-time pandemic EBT cards to help some families with meals. Qualifying households include students who have lost access to free or reduced meals, or who are enrolled in schools that provide free meals to all students. To apply, visit
  • 10:08 a.m. - U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are cosponsoring legislation that would create a $75 billion housing assistance fund. It aims to support renters and homeowners who are facing economic hardship during the pandemic - in Richmond, the maximum qualifying income for a family of four would be $134,000.
  • 9:58 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 143,220 tests have been administered to 128,877 individuals. A total of 3,059 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 812 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 22,342.
  • May 6, 2020
  • 5:11 p.m. - At least 46 homes in the City of Petersburg haven't had water for months. The head of public utilities service was cut before the pandemic, and the residents owe over $3 million in late payments that must be paid before reinstatement.
  • 4:50 p.m. - A private lab lost 300 COVID-19 test swabs from people incarcerated at Buckingham Correctional Center. Now, they are being re-tested, as the original swabs were expired when they were found.
  • 3:22 p.m. - Recap and video are posted.
  • 1:01 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 today around 2 p.m. - stream it on VPM.
  • 11:54 a.m. - A technical glitch at the Va. Dept. of Health site means no new data yet - we hope to have these numbers before 5 p.m. and will post them here. They may be released during the governor's briefing at 2 p.m.

May 5, 2020

  • 4:10 p.m. - The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the number of young people housed at Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center in Chesterfield has dropped to 180, an all-time low. Nearly 50 youth have been released from facilities across the state since March 11, 25 from Bon Air alone, where 29 residents have tested positive for COVID-19. All but one has recovered. Ten staff members have also tested positive; two have recovered.
  • 3:50 p.m. - We've collected most of the briefing recaps and videos on the "Virginia COVID-19 Briefings" page to make it easier to find prior coverage.
  • 11:48 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 127,938 tests have been administered to 112,809 unique individuals. A total of 2,773 people have been hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 713 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 20,256.

May 4, 2020

  • 4:00 p.m. - Recap and full video are available.
  • 1:25 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will brief the commonwealth on COVID-19 today around 2 p.m. - stream it on VPM. He's expected to give updates on the data the state is using to determine reopening. Public health officials told reporters in a closed briefing that they'll be sharing health data that suggests we're trending down on coronavirus cases and deaths - public dashboards show numbers when COVID-19 is confirmed, but they are looking at actual onset of illness, not confirmation, and those numbers suggest we're seeing less spread.
  • 1:22 p.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 122,788 tests have been administered, and a total of 2,700 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 684 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 19,482.

May 1, 2020

  • 4:19 p.m. - Briefing recap and video are online - these ran late today due to fact-checking and careful review of numbers offered by the Northam administration. The governor announced a major increase in COVID-19 testing capacity and a possible explanation for data that suggested Virginia was lagging behind other states in COVID-19 testing.
  • 1:30 p.m. -  Governor's coronavirus briefing will begin around 2 p.m. - stream it on VPM.
  • 11:51 a.m. - The Richmond Jazz Festival is cancelled due to COVID-19. Organizers say virtual alternatives are being planned, and will be posted to their website and social media.
  • 9:59 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health made a major change to the dashboard with more analytical data available. Updated total numbers show 105,648 tests have been administered. A total of 2,416 people were hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 581 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 16,901.

April 30, 2020

  • 9:47 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 90,843 tests have been administered. A total of 2,322 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 552 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 15,846.
  • 9:01 a.m. - VCU Health says it's ready to safely serve patients for elective surgeries and procedures. In a press release, VCU says they are testing all patients for COVID-19 before admission to the hospital and scheduled surgeries so staff can take proper safety measures.

April 29, 2020

  • 3:34 p.m. - Recap and video are available - the governor announced elective surgeries, dental work, and veterinary procedures can begin  on Friday.
  • 2:00 p.m. - Governor's briefing begins momentarily - stream it on VPM.
  • 9:28 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: 85,307 tests have been administered, and a total of 2,259 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 522 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 14,961.

April 28, 2020

  • 9:21 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: A total of 2,165 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 492 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 14,339.

April 27, 2020

  • 3:21 p.m.- Recap and full briefing available.
  • 2:00 p.m. - The governor's briefing begins momentarily - stream it online through VPM.
  • 9:32 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today: A total of 2,066 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 458 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 13,535

April 26, 2020

  • 10:21 a.m. - Chesterfield County schools will send out additional Chromebooks to students in second through fourth grade this week. By next week, almost 40,000 Chromebooks will be available for students. The county is also providing hundreds of hotspots for families without internet access at home.
  • 9:23 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today. A total of 82,753 people have been tested; 2,165  people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 492 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 14,339.

April 25, 2020

  • 5:23 p.m. - The deadline for Virginia income taxes is this Friday, May 1. But due to the coronavirus, state residents are automatically eligible for a six-month filing extension. Taxpayers must pay at least 90% of any taxes owed by June 1 to avoid penalties or interest.
  • 2:00 p.m. - The governor's briefing begins momentarily - stream it online through VPM.
  • 9:19 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today. A total of 2,066 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases and 458 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 13,535.

April 24, 2020

  • 7:11 p.m. - Article has been updated with video of briefing.
  • 5:00 p.m. - Article has been updated with more details from Dr. Karen Remley.
  • 3:51 p.m. - Initial article is online - we'll update later with full video of the briefing and more details. The governor said he hopes the state can start reopening on May 8.
  • 2:14 p.m. - The governor's briefing live stream was interrupted by technical issues today - we'll have a full recap up later, but it's expected he'll give regular updates and confirm latest Virginia Department of Health numbers. The health department website lists 69,015 tests, 1,837 hospitalizations, 410 deaths, and 11,594 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • 12:08 p.m. - The owner of a shooting range in Lynchburg is suing Gov. Ralph Northam for ordering the temporary closure of his business, claiming it infringes on the Second Amendment. The Virginia Attorney General’s Office defended the order, noting outdoor ranges and gun shops may remain open. A Monday decision is expected.

April 23, 2020

  • 4:40 p.m. - The governor is also extending the closure of  75 Department of Motor Vehicles offices and mobile units until May 11. Driver’s licenses and vehicle credentials that were due to expire will now be valid through July 31, and the State Police have been directed to suspend enforcement on a number of vehicle related citations.
  • 4:32 p.m. - Northam is extending the prohibition on elective, or non-emergency, surgeries during the pandemic until May 1, despite a letter from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association we noted earlier.
  • 2:03 p.m. - The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association has asked Gov. Ralph Northam to allow his March 25 order postponing non-emergency procedures to expire tomorrow, as previously planned. They say hospitals should have enough capacity at this time, and delaying treatments longer may have a negative impact on patients. The association estimates some 15,000 people will have their procedures cancelled each week under the order.
  • 1:04 p.m. - Free testing for COVID-19 for people without insurance coverage continues in the Richmond and Henrico area. Call the Health District hotline at 804-205-3501 to find out if your eligible and where you can be tested.
  • 9:21 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today. Reminder: These figures now include a small number of "probable" cases. A total of 64,518 people have been tested; 1,753 people are hospitalized with confirmed or probable cases, and 372 have died. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus now number 10,998.

April 22, 2020

9:00 a.m. - A technical glitch struck our update from today, but it's resolved and back on. The governor's briefing was cancelled for veto day. The briefing will occur as normal this Friday at 2 p.m.

April 21, 2020

  • 8:43 p.m. - Richmond Public Schools has launched a new hotline for families to quickly get answers to questions about food or technology distribution, housing support, transportation, language assistance and more. Assistance is available in English or Spanish at 804-780-6195.
  • 5:00 p.m. - Petersburg, Colonial Heights and Hopewell have suspended bulk waste collection. Regular weekly trash and recycling collection services will continue as normal.
  • 11:25 a.m. - Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center has been approved to use blood plasma transfusions to treat COVID-19. The hospital is preparing to use this on a COVID-19 positive patient for the first time this week. There is currently no drug treatment for the coronavirus disease. 
  • 9:27 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 58,354 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Hospitalizations increased to 1,581 and 324 people have died. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to 9,630. In addition, the health department is now including probable cases - a small fraction of total data - and has further breakdowns on locality and district level.

April 20, 2020

  • 4:39 p.m. - Students, parents and guardians in Chesterfield can call a new help line during the coronavirus pandemic - for everything from traditional school problems to social or emotional challenges. The center will be staffed by English and Spanish speakers.
  • 4:12 p.m. - The Virginia Hispanic Chamber shared a new grant for small businesses harmed by the coronavirus, employing between 3 and 20 people, and located in an economically vulnerable community. More information in Spanish or English
  • 3:22 p.m. - Briefing recap and full video are available.
  • 2:00 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam's COVID-19 briefing should begin momentarily - watch live on VPM.
  • 12:55 p.m. - The Virginia Department of Corrections announced this morning that it will start testing asymptomatic prisoners. Right now, 116 offenders and 50 staff members have tested positive. 
  • 12:15 p.m. - Chesterfield County Public Schools are now offering dinner for children in addition to breakfast and lunch. Children do not have to be present when parents pick up meals. Sites are open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • 9:14 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 56,735 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Hospitalizations increased to 1,500 and 300 people have died. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to 8,990.

April 19, 2020

  • 5:25 p.m. - In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Governor Ralph Northam called President Donald Trump “delusional” in response to the president's statement that states have sufficient testing in place to begin reopening. Northam said America’s governors have been asked to fight a war, without the tools they need.
  • 9:30 a.m. -  Virginia Dept. of Health reports 277 deaths from COVID-19. Demographic data is limited. With more than 8,500 confirmed cases reported, people between the ages of 50-59 make up the highest number, at 19 percent. About 17 percent of cases are people between 40-49, and 16 percent are 60-69 years old. While more confirmed cases in the state are reported in women, higher numbers of men are being hospitalized after contracting the disease. 

April 18, 2020

  • 11:24 a.m. - Late yesterday, the Dept. of Juvenile Justice reported 25 youth at the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center tested positive for COVID-19. The department's chief physician, Dr. Christopher Moon, said in a press release, “Any resident who tested positive was immediately placed in medical isolation.  Thirteen of those residents have already been released from medical isolation per Virginia Department of Health (VDH) guidelines.” Visitation to the facility has been suspended since mid-March.
  • 9:14 a.m. - Deaths related to the coronavirus disease rose to 258 in Virginia, 27 more than yesterday. The latest data from the Virginia Dept. of Health also shows more than 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, with nearly 1,300 hospitalizations. They report 52,000 people tested. The highest numbers of confirmed cases in Central Virginia are in Chesterfield County (310), Henrico County (559) and Richmond City (211).

April 17, 2020

  • 5:30 p.m. At a press conference, Dr. Danny Avula, director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, says the stay at home order and physical distancing are working. He said some of the plans for hospital overflow, for example at the Richmond Convention Center, might not be needed after health system partners have reported they believe they can manage cases with existing facilities. Avula said he’s been reviewing University of Virginia projections for the state and sees a few things that may mean an earlier peak than the middle of August but that we likely have a lower but longer curve.
    Avula also provided updated statistics: 19 long term care facilities have confirmed cases in Richmond and Henrico; 68 out of 74 deaths in Henrico are at long term care facilities.
    In Richmond, there are 201 confirmed COVID-19: 64% African American, 24.7% White, 4% other, 6% unknown. Nine people have died, all of them African American.
    In Henrico, there are 532 confirmed COVID-19 cases: about 50% African American, 36.9% White, about 4% other, 9% unknown.  Out of 74 deaths, 44.6% are African American, 45.9% are White, about 4% are other, and about 4% are unknown. 
    Avula said they’re working with state partners and VCU to expand testing. They’re planning more testing at long term care facilities. He said health officials at Henrico Health Department are working to set up neighborhood testing sites in minority communities. Residents can call a hotline, 804-205-3501, be screened for symptoms and potentially get an appointment at walk-up testing sites they aim to launch on Tuesday. Avula did not announce the locations of those sites
  • 3:30 p.m. - Full recap and video of the briefing are now available.
  • 2:16 p.m. - The governor is now taking questions
  • 2:14 p.m. - Dr. Oliver says African-Americans consist of 1,401 COVID-19 cases and 71 deaths according to the race/ethnic data collected so far.
  • 2:10 p.m. - Northam says the local jail population has been reduced 17%, due to incarceration alternatives.
  • 2:08 p.m. - The governor has announced that he's signed Executive Order 57, which will ease licensing restrictions on long-term care facility workers, allow more use of tele-health, and permit out-of-state doctors to work in Virginia.
  • 2:06 p.m. - Northam says the first shipment of PPE has arrived, and includes about 24,000 N95 masks, as well as gloves and gowns.
  • 2:03 p.m. - Gov. Northam announced 600 more COVID-19 cases in the state today, up roughly 8%.
  • 1:35 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam will begin his 2 p.m. COVID-19 briefing soon. As usual, you can watch on the VPM website or over social media. We'll be live tweeting on this thread.
  • 9:58 a.m. - The gas station chain Sheetz is offering free meals for children. The bagged lunch includes a turkey sandwich, chips, and a drink, and are available all day while supplies last.
  • 9:45 a.m. - Rep. Denver Riggleman is cosponsoring an act to exempt first responders from federal income taxes until June 15.
  • 9:04 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 48,997 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Hospitalizations increased to 1,221 and 231 people have died. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to 7,491. This is a larger increase than usual, and will probably be addressed during the governor's briefing today.

April 16, 2020

  • 1:58 p.m. - After four weeks of COVID-19 school closures, No Kid Hungry Virginia sent out a reminder for families with children to text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877 to find free food sites in their communities. The group says more than 450,000 kids rely on the food they'd normally receive at school.
  • 1:11 p.m. - A small group protested at the Capital today calling for an end to social distancing and the reopening of businesses. VPM will have a full story on the protest later today.
  • 9:21 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 46,444 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Hospitalizations increased to 1,114 and 208 people have died. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to 6,889.
  • 9:07 a.m. - Yesterday, Republican state legislators issued a statement calling on the governor to release a plan to reopen businesses as soon as possible.

April 15, 2020

  • 4:15 p.m. - Director of the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts confirms that all of the eight COVID-19 patients who died in Richmond were African American. State officials have said they are collecting racial and ethnic information to assess disparate racial impacts from the coronavirus.
  • 3:31 p.m. - Recap and full video of today's briefing published.
  • 3:00 p.m. - A spokesperson for House of Representatives Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn says the lawmaker is considering virtual legislative meetings throughout the rest of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • 2:18 p.m. - Northam is going to questions now - check our Twitter thread to see updates there. Recap and full video coming soon.
  • 2:15 p.m. - Dr. Oliver says the big increase in deaths since yesterday (41) isn't a one-day increase - it takes time to certify deaths and confirm they were COVID-19 related, and then release that information.
  • 2:10 p.m. - First Lady Pam Northam says essential workers who need childcare can visit or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC.
  • 2:05 p.m. - The Governor's emergency order is continued for 2 more weeks, keeping entertainment, personal care, and other non essential services closed until May 8.
  • 2:01 p.m. - Governor opens briefing by saying "Social distancing is working," cites models.
  • 1:10 p.m. - Gov. Ralph Northam's briefing begins at 2 p.m. As usual, VPM will livestream it here and on Facebook and Twitter.
  • 9:22 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 44,169 Virginians have been tested for COVID-19. Hospitalizations increased to 1,048 and 195 people have died. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to 6,500.

April 14, 2020

  • 4:02 p.m. - Three more residents of the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Henrico County have died after testing positive for COVID-19. There have been a total of 45 coronavirus-related deaths at the nursing home. 
  • 3:51 p.m. - Va. Dept. of Corrections confirmed the first inmate death due to the coronavirus disease. The 49-year-old woman was incarcerated at Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland and was expected to be released in 2023. In a press release, the DOC said she had underlying health conditions including asthma and Hepatitis-C.
  • 9:00 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released updated total numbers today - 42,763 tests have been administered, 978 people are hospitalized, 154 have died, and 6,171 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.

April 13, 2020

  • 3:32 p.m. - Recap up with full video of the briefing.
  • 2:18 p.m. - Dr. Laurie Forlano, head of a new task force for nursing home response, announces an update to the Va. Dept. of Health dashboard - it now shows outbreaks by long-term care facilities.
  • 2:14 p.m. - Governor also has a big update on budget and legislation signed over the weekend (he had a midnight deadline for signing legislation.) 144 amendments - 83 unlock or free new discretionary spending of hundreds of millions of dollars to respond to COVID-19
  • 2:04 p.m. - At briefing, Northam says reporters were given a demonstration of the COVID-19 models the governor is using. We'll have an update on that later.
  • 1:22 p.m. - The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has added a new section to their COVID-19 dashboard - hospital discharges. As of now, 467 patients with COVID-19 have been discharged from hospitals in Virginia. The site also tracks hospitalizations for people who have pending test results - 1,238.
  • 1:00 p.m. - In about an hour, tune in for today's briefing by Gov. Ralph Northam.
  • 9:22 a.m. - The Va. Dept. of Health released an update to their dashboard - new breakdowns and visualizations are available. They've also updated numbers - since Friday, tests administered have increased to 41,401, and 903 people are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. Since Friday, 28 people have died bringing deaths to 149. Total confirmed cases have reached 5,747.

April 10, 2020

  • 3:30 p.m. - Big announcements today: Northam is expediting prison reentry, and established a task force to help nursing homes respond to COVID-19. The governor also gave unemployment updates and announced federal assistance to increase and expand unemployment begins next week.
  • 2:42 p.m. - Briefing has ended - check back soon for our coverage, and read our live thread on Twitter.
  • 1:58 p.m. - Governor's briefing begins soon - watch it here.
  • 9:26 a.m. - Reporting 35,459 tests, the Va. Dept. of Health says 772 people are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 121 people have died. Total confirmed cases have reached 4,509.

April 9, 2020

  • 9:00 a.m. - Reporting 33,026 tests, the Va. Dept. of Health says 685 people are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 109 people have died. Total confirmed cases have reached 4,042.

April 8, 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
  • 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

March 10, 2020

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 March 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.

*Editor's note: An earlier version of this page incorrectly gave the March 2 date of our interview with Dr. Bearman as May 2. It has been updated.

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