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VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRGINIA

Official: Rehab center with outbreak faces staff shortage

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A health official says a Virginia rehabilitation facility is facing a staffing and supply shortage amid a coronavirus outbreak that has killed four patients and sickened more than a dozen patients and staff. Dr. Danny Avula is the director of the Richmond and Henrico health districts. He says the situation at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Henrico County is “challenging” on "every front." He says exhausted staff are working double shifts, and the facility is working to hire more. The Virginia health department reported Thursday that the virus has infected more than 450 people and killed more than a dozen in the state so far.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRGINIA UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless claims spike in Virginia after coronavirus outbreak

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal report shows jobless claims in Virginia spiked by nearly a factor of 20 as parts of the economy slowed or shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. The report released Thursday shows nearly 47,000 Virginians filed unemployment claims for the week ending March 21. That's about 18 times higher than the previous four-week rolling average. The increase is even sharper than the nation as a whole, where a spike of 3.28 million jobless claims jumped by a factor of 14. The Virginia Employment Commission is urging people to file claims online as the wait to get through over the phone exceeds two hours.

BC-VA-MEDICAL SUPPLY DONATIONS

Churches, nonprofits donate medical supplies in Virginia

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Some churches and nonprofits in Virginia are donating their supplies to hospitals and emergency medical services to help battle the coronavirus. The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that the supplies had been intended to provide relief in other countries but are now being donated locally. For instance, Rock Church in Virginia Beach dipped into its reserve for mission trips and gave 1,000 masks to four Sentara hospitals. Operation Smile, which focuses on cleft lip and palate surgeries across the globe, gave 1,800 masks and 4,500 gloves to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. Meanwhile, Gov. Ralph Northam has made a plea for businesses to step up and help out.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-VIRGINIA BAR

Popular northern Virginia bar sees coronavirus exposure

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Officials in Alexandria are warning patrons at one of the city's most popular bars about exposure to the coronavirus. The Alexandria Health Department says a person who spent extensive time at Murphy's Grand Irish Pub has tested positive for the coronavirus. The city is asking people who were at the bar at the same time as the individual to self-quarantine and contact the city for further guidance. The individual was at Murphy's on March 10 from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., March 14 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and March 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant says it will close through Sunday for cleaning.

KEY BRIDGE MARRIOTT

Landmark northern Virginia hotel set for redevelopment

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A landmark hotel just outside the nation's capital has received the go-ahead for a partial demolition and major redevelopment. The Key Bridge Marriott was built in 1959 and sits just across the Potomac River from D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood. It is the oldest Marriott still in service, built just after the company shifted emphasis from restaurants to hotels. On Tuesday the Arlington County Board announced approval of a redevelopment plan that calls for partially demolishing the hotel and renovating its 445 rooms. More than 450 residential units will also be built, and the plan calls for constructing an esplanade with river views that will be open to the public.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

Governor urges Falwell to rethink welcoming students

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia's governor is asking Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. to reconsider his decision to welcome students back to the Lynchburg campus this week after their spring break. Gov. Ralph Northam criticized Liberty at a news conference Wednesday in Richmond. He said Liberty was sending “mixed messages” about COVID-19, the illness that has crippled economies, forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people and swamped health care systems. Liberty has told students they were “welcome" to return to campus after last week's spring break. The school is among the nation's largest and most prominent evangelical colleges.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-TEACHER RAISES

Raises for Virginia teachers, state employees in peril

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Proposed pay boosts for Virginia teachers and state workers are in serious jeopardy as state officials scramble to figure out just how bad the conoravirus' impact will be on the state budget. The new Democratic majority at the legislature has previously promised to make increasing teacher pay a top priority and state officials said they aren't ready to say for sure that the pay increases are on the chopping block. Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne recently told lawmakers to brace for at least a $1 billion in fewer revenues in the next fiscal year than the state had been expecting and said cuts of some kind are coming.

AP-US-OBIT-DARIUS-SWANN

Darius Swann, who fought for school integration, dies at 95

A man whose challenge to the notion of segregated public schools helped spark the use of busing to integrate schools has died at his Virginia home. The Rev. Darius L. Swann was 95. Swann's wife, Vera, said her husband died on March 8 of pneumonia. His lawsuit filed against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education in 1965, stemmed from his efforts to enroll his son in a predominantly white school closer to their home instead of a predominantly African American school further away. In 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld court-ordered busing in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district, clearing the way for the use of busing as a means of desegregation.