Coronavirus latest: Northam orders schools to remain closed as cases in Virginia rise to 254; 7 deaths reported


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There are 254 coronavirus cases in Virginia with six deaths, state health officials reported Monday. During his daily press briefing, Northam announced that he has ordered all Virginia schools to remain closed through the academic year due to coronavirus concerns.

The governor also shared that he has ordered certain types of businesses — including bowling alleys, gyms, spas and theaters — to close in his remarks. Those nonessential businesses have been ordered to close by midnight on Tuesday.

“Our priority is to save lives,” Northam said Monday. “We are moving into a period of sacrifice.”

Virginia Beach Health Department reports 1st coronavirus death, marking state’s 7th

The Virginia Beach Health Department reported its first COVID-19 death on Monday, putting the state’s death toll at 7.

The department confirmed that a man in his 70s died after being hospitalized and testing positive for COVID-19.

“It is a sad day in our city after learning a Virginia Beach resident has died of the virus. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” Virginia Beach Health Director Dr. Demetria Lindsay said in a statement. “Elderly individuals and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of complications from COVID-19, including death.”

Area jails releasing inmates to prevent COVID-19 outbreak behind bars

Officials at Pamunkey Regional Jail and Henrico County have confirmed that they are looking to release non-violent offenders and put them on home electronic monitoring due to the outbreak. Pamunkey told 8News that they have already release six inmates who had less than two weeks to serve.

Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran urged jails, judges and prosecutors to consider alternatives to incarceration in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak. Moran called on law enforcement to consider a summons instead of a custodial arrest when possible.

Chesterfield County Jail said Monday that they will not pursue early release of inmates.

Maryland governor orders all nonessential businesses to close

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered all nonessential businesses to close Monday due to concerns over the novel coronavirus.

“We now have 288 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our state,” Hogan said during a press briefing Monday. “Over the past weekend, we saw a 678% increase in positive cases. We now have cases in 21 out of 24 of Maryland’s jurisdictions.”

Hogan praised those in the state who have followed social distancing guidelines, but then quickly shifted his tone by calling out people who “are not taking it seriously.”

“If you are engaged in this kind of activity, you are breaking the law and you are literally endangering the lives of your family, your friends and your fellow citizens. Because of this irresponsible and reckless behavior, beginning today, even further and more aggressive enforcement actions will be taken by state and local authorities to disperse these gatherings.”

Hogan enacted an executive order on Monday that will close “all nonessential businesses, organizations, establishments and facilities in Maryland,” including all businesses not covered by federal guidelines, starting at 5 p.m.

Latest COVID-19 updates

Surgeon general shares stark warning on coronavirus: “It’s going to get bad.”

During an interview Monday on NBC, the United States surgeon general issued a stark warning to the American people.

“I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad,” Dr. Jerome Adams said. “Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

“Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now,” the surgeon general continued. “So, test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else. Or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home.”

Here are some tips from VDH on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.

For more coronavirus coverage, click here.

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