COVID-19 cases nearing 48,000 in Virginia with 1,445 deaths reported

COVID-19 cases nearing 48,000 in Virginia with 1,445 deaths reported
The Virginia Department of Health reported 47,856 total positive coronavirus tests throughout the state Thursday - a 951 case jump since Wednesday. (Source: Virginia Department of Health)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 47,856 total positive coronavirus tests throughout the state Thursday - a 951 case jump since Wednesday.

The state also reports 1,445 deaths and 4,957 hospitalizations.

The rise in cases is often attributed to the increased amount of testing happening through the commonwealth. A total of 394,066 people have been tested for the coronavirus, an increase of 12,527 since Wednesday.

The state also reports a total of 378 “outbreaks” throughout the state - three more than the day before. A majority of the outbreaks are in long-term care facilities. There are currently 8,472 cases associated with the outbreaks, including 2,998 healthcare workers.

At least two lab-confirmed cases are required to classify an outbreak.

Central VA Case Highlights:

  • Henrico: 1,946 cases, 217 hospitalizations, 134 deaths
  • Chesterfield: 1,721 cases, 86 hospitalizations, 37 deaths
  • Richmond: 1,488 cases, 163 hospitalizations, 24 deaths
  • Hanover: 336 cases, 53 hospitalizations, 24 deaths
  • Goochland: 103 cases, 18 hospitalizations, 6 deaths
  • Petersburg: 152 cases, 30 hospitalizations, 3 deaths

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

[ FULL TEXT: Read the governor’s phase one guidelines here ]

See the full breakdown of cases here, including localities and ages:

Governor Ralph Northam will continue to update the commonwealth on the coronavirus outbreak on Tuesdays and Thrusdays at 2 p.m. Watch it live on NBC12′s website and news app.

Reopening Virginia

Most of Virginia is beginning the first phase of a gradual reopening plan put in place by Gov. Ralph Northam.

The governor allowed some nonessential businesses to reopen Friday in most of the state. However, Northern Virginia, Richmond and Accomack County were all granted two-week delays.

Northam has said he’s basing his decision to reopen on positive trends in key metrics related to the virus’ spread, like hospital readiness and testing capacity.

There will still be severe restrictions in place during phase one.

Latest on Testing

The Virginia Department of Health announced it will now count the number of positive virus tests instead of the number of people who test positive.

That means if one person is tested three-times and all three tests come back positive, it counts as three instead of how the numbers were being counted before, which would have only been one because it was a single patient.

Virginia now has contracts with three labs - two in the commonwealth and one in North Carolina to increase testing capacity by 3,000 per day.

What About Essential Businesses?

Elective surgeries and dental procedures resumed on May 1 after personal protective equipment shortage fears ended.

“Our hospitals, our clinics, our dental offices, these are safe, these are clean places to go and so while we have been through this pandemic I want to encourage all Virginians that your health care is important,” said Northam.

His chief of staff said the commonwealth’s re-opening will look different from others because only select businesses like salons and gyms were closed under Northam’s order.

Non-essential retail was able to remain open but only if the business can adhere to the 10 people or fewer rule, keep people six feet apart and have proper sanitation products in place.

Police and deputies are able to enforce this.

Northam says testing is key to being able to open the state back up and Virginia still ranks close to the bottom, among the states, when it comes to testing per capita.

Anyone with questions related to a business can email business@virginia.gov for more information.

The extension does not impact Virginia’s stay at home order, which will last until June 10 unless rescinded or amended.

The order will allow people to leave their homes for essential services like seeking medical attention, buying groceries, banking and more. But Northam asks that anyone who can work from home to do so.

“The sooner we can put this health crisis behind us, the sooner our lives will return to normal and the sooner our economy can revamp,” Northam said during a press conference.

Northam has also postponed the May General and Special Elections by two weeks, from May 5, 2020, to May 19, 2020, using his authority as governor.

Governor Northam is also encouraging people to use cloth masks in public to prevent the virus spread, but N-95 masks and other personal protective equipment should be reserved for first responders.

Northam previously said he’s making his decisions on the response to COVID-19 based on science and data and takes full responsibility as governor.

Rewatch the Governor’s previous briefings here:

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