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Health Officials Urge Caution as COVID Cases Increase in Richmond

Chart of cases
After falling throughout the month of Spetember, the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases in the city of Richmond increased during October. They are still below peak levels from June, unlike much of the country. (Screenshot of VDH Dashboard).

Richmond is continuing to see a trend of increasing coronavirus cases heading into the winter months, health officials say.

As of Wednesday, an average of 30 Richmonders per day are testing positive for the virus. At the weekly coronavirus briefing Wednesday, Danny Avula, head of the Richmond Health Department, said the number of tests coming back positive and hospitalizations for COVID-19 are also on the rise. 

Avula urged residents to start acting differently.

“This is within our control: the degree to which we continue to congregate with others, to be out and about, to not follow the distancing and mask wearing guidelines. And we are seeing it play out,” he said.

Richmond has experienced an increasing number of coronavirus outbreaks in the last few weeks. Avula said some of these outbreaks are happening in congregate settings like  nursing homes, but younger people are also contracting the virus from places like gyms. Four businesses have also had their license suspended for not following COVID-19 guidelines, although Avula would not name them.

With the Halloween holiday coming up this weekend, health officials are providing guidance for how families can participate safely. If families want to go trick-or-treating, health officials tell VPM that wearing a cloth mask (not a costume mask) and social distancing are still necessary.