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News to Know for Dec. 3: Omicron cases spread; VEC claims application down; RVA Illuminates return

Just a day after the first known U.S. case was found in California, tests showed the omicron...
Just a day after the first known U.S. case was found in California, tests showed the omicron variant had infected at least five people in the New York City metropolitan area.(KTTC)
Published: Dec. 3, 2021 at 6:39 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 3, 2021 at 8:41 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Take a look at our top headlines before you start the day!

Another Warm, Pleasant Day

Three of the next four days are likely to be 10+° above average.

Today will be mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s.

Greensville Co. High School Student Killed

Students were released early from Greensville County High School Thursday morning in order to give them time to grieve following a student death.

The superintendent confirms a student was killed Wednesday night, and law enforcement is investigating the death as a homicide.

Officials have not said what happened.

The school will be in session on Friday. Crisis and grief counselors will be available for students.

Omicron Now In Five U.S. States

The omicron variant of COVID-19, which had been undetected in the U.S. before the middle of this week, had been discovered in at least five states by the end of Thursday, showing yet again how mutations of the virus can circumnavigate the globe with speed and ease.

Just a day after the first known U.S. case was found in California, tests showed the omicron variant had infected at least five people in the New York City metropolitan area, plus a man from Minnesota who had attended an anime convention in Manhattan in late November.

A Colorado woman who had recently traveled to southern Africa, a Hawaii resident with no recent travel history, and another California resident who traveled to South Africa last month also were infected by the variant, officials said.

Much remains unknown about omicron, including whether it is more contagious, as some health authorities suspect, whether it can thwart vaccines and whether it makes people as sick as the original strain.

At-Home COVID Tests

The Virginia Department of Health is partnering with 18 libraries and library systems across the state to distribute COVID-19 rapid antigen at-home test kits. All kits will be provided at no cost.

Individuals can pick up the COVID-19 Antigen Card Home Test from their local library, use it in their homes and get results in 15 minutes.

(WBNG 12 News)

Test kits the eMed digital platform. Individuals will need a cell phone or computer to create an account to go through a virtual tutorial. Once the test is completed, the results will come back in 15 minutes, and eMed will send the results to VDH.

The program will run through Dec. 31, and additional libraries might be added at a later date.

VEC Online Claims App Down

The Virginia Employment Commission’s online claims application is down for maintenance.

(WDBJ7)

The VEC did not say how long the system will be down.

You can file a new claim by calling 1-866-832-2363 or file a weekly claim by calling 1-800-897-5630.

Northam & Buttigieg

Governor Ralph Northam will join U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg for a walking tour of Jackson Ward on Friday as part of an infrastructure event.

U.S. Representative Donald McEachin and Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney will also join the tour to see revitalization efforts.

(Source: Pool/CNN)

Buttigieg will then join U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger and McEachin for a news conference at the construction site to discuss how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will benefit Virginia.

No Government Shutdown

The Senate has passed a stopgap spending bill that avoids a short-term shutdown and funds the federal government through Feb. 18 after leaders defused a partisan standoff over federal vaccine mandates. The measure now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.

U.S. Capitol
U.S. Capitol(WRDW)

Earlier Thursday, congressional leaders announced they had finally reached an agreement to keep the government running for 11 more weeks, generally at current spending levels, while adding $7 billion to aid Afghanistan evacuees.

Once the House voted to approve the measure, senators soon announced an agreement that would allow them to vote on it quickly.

RVA Illuminates Returns!

As the holiday season warms up, a Richmond tradition returns. On Friday, Dec. 3, the city skyline will be lit up for RVA Illuminates. Unlike last year, it’s open to the public.

Festivities will get underway at the Kanawha Plaza on East Canal Street, starting at 5:45 p.m. The Richmond Police Department Band will perform some holiday classics, and Mayor Levar Stoney will flip the switch to light the skyline Friday at 6 p.m.

The 2020 RVA Illuminates celebration had to be held virtually due to the pandemic.
The 2020 RVA Illuminates celebration had to be held virtually due to the pandemic.((SOURCE: NBC 12))

Downtown will not be the only spot in the city to celebrate. Shockoe Illuminates will happen just a short distance away in conjunction with RVA Illuminates. Shockoe Illuminates serves as a great alternative if you want to avoid the plaza crowds and find something more family-friendly.

As part of the tradition, the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities also asks businesses and residents to light up their storefronts and homes at 6 p.m.

Final Thought

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there - George Harrison

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