COVID-19 testing positivity rate now 6% with deaths over 1,800 statewide

COVID-19 testing positivity rate now 6% with deaths over 1,800 statewide
COVID-19 testing in Virginia. (Source: VDH)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 64,393 total positive coronavirus tests throughout the state Friday.

The state also reports 1,845 deaths and 6,382 hospitalizations since the pandemic began.

The rise in cases is often attributed to the increased amount of testing happening through the commonwealth.

A total of 760,029 people have now been tested. And the positivity rate, which is supposed to determine the pace of reopening, is at 6 percent. At the peak of the pandemic, that figure was more than 20 percent.

There one new outbreak reported on Friday; the total number is now 472. At least two lab-confirmed cases are required to classify an outbreak.

A majority of the outbreaks are in long-term care facilities. There are currently 11,639 cases associated with the outbreaks, including 4,045 healthcare workers.

Central VA Case Highlights:

  • Chesterfield: 2,974 cases, 128 hospitalizations, 53 deaths
  • Henrico: 2,629 cases, 258 hospitalizations, 157 deaths
  • Richmond: 2,248 cases, 227 hospitalizations, 30 deaths
  • Hanover: 442 cases, 67 hospitalizations, 29 deaths
  • Petersburg: 256 cases, 43 hospitalizations, 5 deaths
  • Goochland: 126 cases, 23 hospitalizations, 6 deaths

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

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

Reopening Virginia

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is ushering the state into the final stage of his “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. Phase three began on Wednesday, July 1.

During this phase, stores, restaurants and bars no longer have capacity limits, but social distancing measures will still be required. That also includes salons and barbershops.

Movie theaters, bowling alleys, and other indoor entertainment venues can finally reopen but only at 50 percent capacity. Meanwhile, more people can work out at the gym, which will have a capacity cap of 75 percent.

[ See a full breakdown of the guidelines from the state here ]

Social distancing and masks are still required in public spaces.

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.

The state’s goals for testing are set to 2%-4% a month per district, which is 6,000-13,000/day statewide.

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.

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.

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