News to Know for April 9: Guidelines for essential workers; Lack of testing in long-term facilities; Postponing state elections; Carmax employees furloughed; Heavy showers, storms

News to Know for April 9: Guidelines for essential workers; Lack of testing in long-term facilities; Postponing state elections; Carmax employees furloughed; Heavy showers, storms
(Source: pixabay)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Here’s a quick look at our top headlines to help get you out the door.

First Alert Weather Day: Storms

Strong cold front arrives this morning, bringing rain, wind and a severe storm threat.

FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY for early morning only. 5-9am brings a threat of heavy showers or storms.

First Alert Weather Day for severe storm threat 5-9am this morning

Strong wind gusts possible. Otherwise turning mostly sunny and windy during the afternoon.

NW wind 15-25 mph with gusts to 40 mph. Lows in the mid 50s, highs in the upper 70s.

Coronavirus Updates

As the coronavirus continues to dominate headlines, NBC12 put everything you need to know in one place to make it easier to stay up to date.

Essential Workers

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, said that the Trump administration has been working on plans to eventually reopen the country amid “glimmers of hope” that social distancing is working to stop the virus’s spread.

In a first, small step toward reopening the country, the Trump administration issued new guidelines to make it easier for essential workers who have been exposed to COVID-19 to get back to work if they do not have symptoms of the coronavirus.

Nurse
Nurse (Source: pixabay)

President Donald Trump has extended stay-at-home recommendations for a month in an abrupt turnaround from his previous stance. The move came after Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said up to 200,000 Americans could die and millions become infected if lockdowns and social distancing did not continue.

Virginia’s COVID-19 Cases

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 3,645 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 75 deaths and 615 hospitalizations throughout the state Wednesday.

The numbers include 312 new cases and 12 new deaths. Experts expect those numbers to continue to climb as more people get tested. So far, 30,645 Virginians have now been tested for the virus - up 2,000 from the day before.

Central VA Highlights:

  • Henrico: 291
  • Chesterfield: 145
  • Richmond: 119
  • Goochland: 24
  • Hanover: 22

The numbers reported by the Virginia Health Department are only updated once a day.

Long-Term Care Facilities’ Cases

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and state health officials say a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing capacity restraints are factors in outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state including Canterbury Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Henrico County.

Currently, the death toll at Canterbury stands at 33 and 90 residents have tested positive. Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver also said the state is increasing surveillance of outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

(Source: NBC12)

“We’ve broadened our test criteria so that we can test more people and the nursing homes and other long term care facilities as more test becomes available, we will increase our testing in those areas,” said Dr. Oliver.

During a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday, Northam also announced the state is currently distributing personal protective equipment to hospitals and first responders in the state. The governor says 1.5 million gloves and 430,000 N-95 masks are on the way.

Voting Postponed

Governor Ralph Northam hopes to postpone the upcoming Virginia elections in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The governor announced that he will ask the General Assembly to move both the May General Election and the June Primary Elections during his Wednesday briefing.

People vote at Riverside High School for Wisconsin's primary election on Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.
People vote at Riverside High School for Wisconsin's primary election on Tuesday April 7, 2020, in Milwaukee. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Source: AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Suggested Date Changes:

  • General Election: Proposing to move from May 5 to Nov. 3
  • Primary Elections: Proposing to move from June 9 to June 23

Northam says no one should have to choose between their health and voting.

Prisoner Lawsuit

A Virginia attorney is seeking to get non-violent offenders out of prison during the coronavirus pandemic.

Twenty-seven defendants filed a lawsuit Wednesday suing Governor Ralph Northam and wardens at 12 Virginia prisons, claiming the state isn’t doing enough to keep inmates safe. One of whom has already tested positive for coronavirus. The nearly 50-page lawsuit lists a dozen plaintiffs.

(Source: Corey Schmidt)

The attorney wants non-violent offenders, especially those who have served most of their sentences, released early with GPS or ankle monitoring.

The governor said he can’t comment on pending litigation. The ACLU plans to hold a news conference Thursday morning with several other community groups joining in their cause.

Carmax Employees Furloughed

The furloughs will impact 450 people in Virginia, a spokesperson said.

(Source: Carmax/Facebook)
(Source: Carmax/Facebook)

The company says the furloughs are in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which due to the conditions, has caused about half of the company’s stores to close or operate on a limited basis.

The majority of the furloughs nationwide are at locations where stores have closed due to government mandates.

Mixed Drinks To-Go

While restaurants and distilleries remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ralph Northam has directed Virginia ABC to allow the businesses to sell mixed drinks through takeout or delivery, starting at midnight Thursday.

Under the governor’s executive order, Virginia ABC will also defer the collection of license renewal fees for 90 days from the original expiration date for businesses with licenses expiring in March, April, May and June.

Gov. Ralph Northam has directed Virginia ABC to allow the businesses to sell mixed drinks through takeout or delivery, starting at midnight Thursday.
Gov. Ralph Northam has directed Virginia ABC to allow the businesses to sell mixed drinks through takeout or delivery, starting at midnight Thursday. (Source: pixabay)

Many restaurants rely on alcohol sales to meet profit margins, and this temporary privilege from Northam will allow for more revenue to come in.

Final Thought

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness - Desmond Tutu

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