VIRGINIA — Virginia's cases of the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, increased to 460 on Thursday. Deaths due to COVID-19 are up to 13 statewide, and 65 people are hospitalized, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The latest state count does not include the death of a staff member with Loudoun County Public Schools, which Loudoun County reported Thursday.
A third individual at Henrico County's Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center has died, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The deaths of two elderly residents of the center were reported earlier Wednesday. Those three deaths were the first in central Virginia related to COVID-19. Northern Virginia's first death happened in Fairfax County and southside Virginia's first was in the Pittsylvania-Danville Health District. The southeastern Peninsula Health District reported seven deaths, and Virginia Beach reported one.
The Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Falls Church City, continues to report the most cases in the state with 80. The next highest numbers were 54 in Arlington County, 49 in James City County, 36 in Prince William County, 28 in Loudoun County, 26 in Virginia Beach, 21 in Henrico County, 14 in Richmond and 14 in Alexandria.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, the number of people tested increased from 5,370 to 6,189. The state's health department also broke down the cases based on the date a patient's illness began. As of Thursday, there are 58 cases that began on March 17, followed by 55 that began on March 16. Virginia's first case dates back to Feb. 28. These dates reflect the time symptoms started, or when the state health department received the case report if the time symptoms began isn't available. The numbers are preliminary; illnesses that began between March 18 and the present may not be reported yet.
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On Wednesday, Gov. Ralph Northam called on health care professionals, both licensed or previously licensed, as well as students to volunteer for the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. This group of volunteers supports the state in the event of a public health emergency like the coronavirus crisis.
Northam also ordered hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to ensure personal protective equipment is available for the COVID-19 response. The order doesn't apply to procedure if a patient would be harmed by a delay.
Virginia received a shipment of personal protective equipment from the national stockpile this week and expects another shipment next week. Officials are reaching out to different industries to secure more personal protective equipment like masks, gowns and gloves. The state is also working to source more ventilators as hospitals anticipate the need for more.
Northam, along with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, are calling on more resources from the federal government to meet testing supply needs and financial assistance to states and localities.
Statewide, gatherings of more than 10 people are banned under Northam's March 23 executive order. All K-12 schools were ordered to close for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. Essential businesses can stay open with normal hours, but non-essential recreation and entertainment businesses had to close by the end of March 24. Restaurants, food courts, farmers markets, distilleries, breweries, wineries and tasting rooms can operate with take-out and delivery only. Dining and congregation areas were ordered to close.