Richmond health officials urge residents to remain cautious during Phase Three

City offering $6 million in housing assistance

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is now in Phase Three of reopening, and data is showing good signs when it comes to the coronavirus. But health experts are urging residents to still be cautious.

Dr. Danny Avula with the health department says there is some concern about a rise in cases as people are out of their homes more in Phase Three, but he says with the way Virginia has approached the virus, we can prevent what we’ve seen in other states.

The City of Richmond is reporting no COVID-19 related deaths over the last two weeks, but 50 percent of the more than 2,000 cases in the city have been within the Latino community. Health officials have been working to add more bilingual staff members to their team while offering more testing and working towards effective isolation and quarantine for anyone who might be sick.

Avula said that across Virginia and in the city, they saw a downward trend in case counts, percent positivity and hospitalizations through the month of June, but they are seeing that plateau in the last week.

Avula says as the state moves forward, residents need to do so with caution.

Mayor Levar Stoney gives an update on COVID-19

The City Health District is offering two free opportunities this week.

  • Tuesday, July 7 - Diversity Richmond from 9-11 a.m., 1407 Sherwood Ave, Richmond, VA 23220 | Rain or shine
  • Thursday, July 9 - Powhatan Community Center, “The Hut” 9-11 a.m., 5051 Northampton St, Richmond, VA 23231 | Rain or shine

As Phase Three continues, there is a concern of an uptick in cases with more people leaving their homes.

“I am concerned we are going to see an increase in numbers. You hear us say we cannot just go back to normal, we’ve got to monitor ourselves, keep our distance, wash out hands and wear masks,” explained Dr. Avula. “Those are the things that we have seen over the last few months make a difference and while I do expect some uptick in disease, I think we can moderate it.”

In Monday’s update, Mayor Stoney spoke about the impact the pandemic is having on housing. City officials say more than 1,900 households are facing eviction, many of those evictions started before the pandemic.

“We are safer and stronger at home. No, I do not have the power to declare an eviction moratorium in Richmond, what we can do is provide direct support for residents who need that support the most. The City of Richmond recently allocated $6 million of CARES Act funding to eviction diversion and rental assistance,” said Stoney.

Program Eligibility:

  • Is the non-payment of rent must be the only issue between you and the landlord?
  • Are you able to come to court on the return date and ask to be in the EDP?
  • Are you able to pay the landlord or the court at least 25% of the amount due as of the return date?
  • Is this your first time participating in an eviction diversion program?
  • Is your household income $66,650 or below for a family of four? Add $6,650 for additional family members.

For more information and to apply for assistance, click here.

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