Coronavirus update: 45 new COVID-19 cases in Richmond; Northam may require Virginians wear face masks in public

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Here’s the latest on the coronavirus pandemic for May 23, 2020:

The Virginia Department of Health reported 35,749 cases of COVID-19 — 33,962 confirmed and 1,787 probable — Saturday. The death toll is now at 1,159.

Virginia Hospitals and Healthcare Association reported 5,047 people with the virus have been released from the hospital. The VDH and VHHA do not report recoveries.

Northam could soon order Virginians to wear face masks in public

Governor Ralph Northam (D) said during Friday’s coronavirus briefing that he plans to make an announcement next week on whether he will issue a statewide mandate requiring that Virginians wear protective masks while in public.

Several states are already requiring face coverings in public spaces while others are just asking residents to have them on when they are in businesses or commuting on public transportation.

“We want to make sure everyone has access to a mask, we also want to talk about how we enforce that but I’ll be making that announcement on Tuesday,” Northam explained.

Northam hinted at a possible mask policy after Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sent a letter urging him to consider the move.

“There have been overwhelming recommendations to wear masks or face coverings in public spaces, and I stand firm that by doing this we can all reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Stoney wrote. “As the nation’s only doctor governor, I know that you understand that this is not the time for us to let down our guard, which is why I am continuing to encourage you to make it a requirement that Virginians must wear a mask or face covering while in a public space or visiting businesses.”

At least 1 area pool will remain closed this summer amid the coronavirus

 Typically on Memorial Day weekend area pools would be opening up but at least one Chesterfield community pool will remain closed this summer while others are still waiting and working on their plans.

The CDC says there’s no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water. Dr Gonzalo Bearman, chief of the division of infectious diseases at VCU Medical Center agrees. He told 8News that, “coronavirus is not a waterborne infection, so it cannot spread in the pool or water sources.”

Bearman says chlorine can kill the coronavirus, “chlorine is virucidal, so it kills viruses bacteria, it also kills certain parasites or protozoans.”

Still in Chesterfield, the Brandermill Community Association’s board voted Thursday night not to open their pools this season.

“It was a hard decision made with a lot of deliberation but it was made with keeping the health and safety of the community in mind,” 8News was told.

While chlorine may kill covid, the concern is crowds in a public pool.

“If there’s crowding within a pool and you are close to others as you come up for air, there is certainly the potential for transmission,” Dr. Bearman explained.

Read the full story here.

COVID-19 in Virginia

Here’s a breakdown of cases in our area:

LOCAL COVID-19 CASES TO DATE

  • Charles City County: 27 cases, 1 death
  • Chesterfield County: 1,193 cases, 29 deaths
  • City of Colonial Heights: 83 cases, 8 deaths
  • City of Hopewell: 67 cases, 0 deaths
  • City of Petersburg: 87 cases, 2 deaths
  • City of Richmond: 979 cases, 19 deaths
  • Goochland County: 90 cases, 5 deaths
  • Hanover County: 252 cases, 19 deaths
  • Henrico County: 1,411 cases, 118 deaths
  • New Kent County: 27 cases, 1 death
  • Powhatan County: 29 cases, 0 deaths

How many people have been tested for and diagnosed with coronavirus in your neighborhood? New data released by the Virginia Department of Health provides some answers to that question.

VDH recently released data that breaks down COVID-19 cases and testing numbers by zip code.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus pandemic

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