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VPM Daily Newscast: January 7, 2022

VPM's daily newscast contains all your Central Virginia news in just 5 to 10 minutes. Episodes are recorded the night before so you can wake up prepared.           

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Here’s a recap of the top stories on the morning of Friday, January 7, 2022: 

  • People across the state are struggling to schedule COVID-19 tests in-person and to find at-home test kits. Meanwhile infections are at a historic high. VPM’s Whittney Evans chronicled her search to get tested earlier this week. 

  • Nine new community testing centers are opening across the state to increase testing availability. Governor Ralph Northam’s office said yesterday that the sites will be funded by $5 million dollars from the Virginia Department of Health. The agency is requesting reimbursement for these COVID-19 testing expenses from FEMA. The new testing sites will be on or near the same properties as existing VDH community vaccination centers, including locations in Chesterfield and Richmond. They will offer PCR tests, which health officials say are the most reliable form of testing for COVID-19. 

  • Crews began treating major roadways overnight, as another winter storm hits parts of the commonwealth. The Virginia Department of Transportation says that wasn’t possible earlier this week. That’s because heavy rain before the snow fell would have washed away any road treatment. Virginia’s Commissioner of Highways, Stephen Brich, says people should avoid roadways as much as possible over the next few days. Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency as Virginia prepares to respond to more winter weather. 

  • Because of the storm, the Virginia Department of Health is closing five community vaccination centers today. The centers closing include locations in Charlottesville, Fairfax, Fredericksburg, Prince William and Roanoke. The sites in Chesterfield and Richmond will be open during the day. More details will be released later today about the closures over the weekend. 

  • Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania made a commitment to reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. An environmental group says they’re in danger of failing. Paul Bibeau, from our partner station WHRO, reports. 

  • The Colonial Heights planning commission endorsed plans to build two apartment buildings at the Southpark Mall. The project would include 280 market-rate apartments at the site of the former Sears location, according to Richmond Bizsense. The current structure would be demolished to make way for two, four-story buildings. The proposal still needs to be reviewed by the Colonial Heights city council. It’s scheduled to consider the plans at its meeting next month.