News to Know for Jan. 7: Thousands still without power; COVID cases surging; Sunny & cold today
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - We made it to Friday! Here’s a quick look at our top stories on this cold morning.
Snow Moves Out
A burst of snow fell overnight north of Richmond, bringing one to two inches from Charlottesville to the Northern Neck. Snow was gone by sunrise, followed by a cold, sunny and breezy day.
This weekend will remain cold with highs in the mid-30s Saturday and upper-40s Sunday.
School Delays & Closings
Some schools decided to go ahead and delay classes today ahead of potential snow, including Richmond, Powhatan and Henrico.
Meanwhile, Goochland, Hanover and Cumberland are closed for the day. Louisa County said it would be closed at least through Monday - they’ll re-evaluate next week. Find a full list of closings and delays here.
Thousands Still Without Power
Thousands of Virginians are still left in the dark after Monday’s winter storm, desperately waiting for crews to clear downed trees and get the power back on.
In Louisa County alone, 45 percent are without power. That includes outages from all three electric companies that serve the area.
A spokesperson for Dominion Energy hopes nearly all their customers there will have their power restored by Friday night. They are now down to less than 2,000 in the metro Richmond area. We have links to all the company’s outage maps here.
Warming & Charging Stations
Louisa County is keeping warming shelters open both day and night, trying to give everyone without power a place to stay warm and safe as well as give them a chance to charge their phones or any other devices.
Louisa officials say the warming shelters will stay open so long as people need them. Masks and hand sanitizer will be provided to all who need them as well.
What About Other Places?
In Hanover, there’s a warming and charging station at Beaverdam Baptist Church and Winns Baptist Church, open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. People staying overnight need to arrive by 10 p.m. The Montpelier Recreation Center is also open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Goochland’s YMCA is open today from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for shower and charging needs. You can also go to the Goochland Sports Complex to charge your devices or get warm.
The Fluvanna County High School has been converted into an emergency shelter that is also open overnight. Food and water is available, but bring phone chargers.
And Stafford County is providing shelter at Stafford High School.
Truck Still Stuck
VDOT crews are still working to clear a tractor-trailer crash that happened four days ago on I-64 in Goochland.
Officials say the truck became lodged down an embankment at mile marker 51 near Old Fredericksburg Road. Crews started trying to remove it yesterday morning, but it started falling apart.
They had to shut down all eastbound lanes at one point to pull the truck out of the embankment.
The highway is back open, but crews are still working to fully remove the broken truck.
COVID Cases Surging
The COVID-19 surge in Virginia continues to worsen with roughly a third of tests coming back positive.
Nearly 16,000 cases were reported Thursday and hospitalizations are getting very close to record-breaking levels with nearly 3,100 patients currently admitted. That number peaked at 3,200 on Jan. 13, 2021.
The surge is impacting schools: about 160 teachers in RPS were out sick Thursday. The Richmond Education Association released a letter asking what the threshold is for sending kids out of the classroom and back to virtual, but it doesn’t appear Superintendent Kamras will move forward with an all-virtual option at this point.
Mayor Levar Stoney says case surges are impacting the city government, too. About 80 city employees have tested positive in the last week and another 50 were exposed. But the mayor says the impacts are manageable, considering the city has about 3,500 total employees.
COVID Testing Boost
The lines for testing are still very long throughout central Virginia due to the highly transmissible omicron variant.
In response, the state’s health department announced they’ll be spending $5 million on nine new community testing centers across Virginia. The testing sites will be in the same locations as the community vaccine centers.
Adopt Don’t Shop
That’s what the Prince George County Animal Shelter says because their kennels are filled to the max with dogs! They need to free up space for sick and injured strays and hope people will come and help out.
If you are looking to add a furry friend to your family, head there Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. For more details call 804-991-3200.
“It’s silly to try to escape other people’s faults. They are inescapable. Just try to escape your own.” – Marcus Aurelius
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