Coronavirus updates: Northam moves state and local May election; Virginia has nearly 436 deaths from COVID-19; Red Cross no longer facing blood shortage

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Here’s the latest on the coronavirus pandemic for April 25, 2020:

Virginia Governor Northam moves state and local May election

RICHMOND, VA (WRIC) – After lawmakers rejected Gov. Ralph Northam’s request to move the May elections to November, the Governor pushed the date back himself.

The Governor has signed an executive order moving back local and state elections scheduled for May 5 to May 19. The Commonwealth’s constitution empowers Virginia’s governor to move an election back two weeks without the General Assembly’s approval.

Northam says he was grateful the House of Delegates approved his suggestion to move the election to November but he was disappointed that the Senate did not support the change amid the current pandemic and social distancing guidelines.

Northam says, “Elections are vital to democracy and so is the right to vote. Virginian’s should not have to choose between their ballot and their health.”

The governor also said he did not want a scene in Virginia like in Wisconsin two weeks ago where people were waiting in line for hours trying to social distance in order to vote.

The last day to request an absentee ballot is being extended to May 12 and the governor encourages everyone to vote that way.

“I strongly encourage you to vote absentee by mail. For people who do come out we will make it as safe as possible,” Northam said.

Stopping elective surgeries helped halt ‘severe’ shortage of blood donations

The American Red Cross’ mid-March notice of a ‘severe shortage’ of blood donations followed blood drive cancellations across the country, but donor response and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s directive for all hospitals to postpone elective surgeries shored-up the need for more blood donations.

In the event a shortage of blood donations returns once Northam’s extension to postpone elective surgeries ends on May 1, the American Red Cross is asking people to schedule donation appointments weeks in advance.

“We still are urging the public to continue maintaining their donation appointments if they have them, as well as to continue to schedule platelet donations because there is a shelf life for blood,” Jonathan McNamara said, a spokesperson for the American Red Cross at their Virginia Regional Office.

Northam extended the halt on elective surgeries Thursday, after his initial directive on March 25 in order to “help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment,” according to a statement.

If mass-blood drive locations are needed, McNamara says the American Red Cross is discussing with partners of large spaces to potentially act as hosts, though he says no plan is set in stone.

“They could be at hotel ballrooms, convention centers, and in some parts of the country we’re doing them in sports arenas and stadiums. So this is a conversation that’s different in each area based on the supply demands, and that situation is shifting a situations on the ground change,” McNamara said.

Visit the American Red Cross website to find blood drive sites, and to schedule an appointment.

Breakdown of cases in Virginia

Virginia’s case count is near 12,366, the department of health reported Friday. There have been 436 confirmed and probable deaths across the Commonwealth.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association reported that 1,171 COVID-19 patients have been released for the hospital.

The VHHA and VDH do not report the number recoveries from the virus.

Here’s a breakdown of cases in our area:

COVID-19 CASESTOTAL CASESDEATHS
Charles City County251
Chesterfield County1,13229
City of Colonial Heights827
City of Hopewell620
City of Petersburg842
City of Richmond88820
Goochland County895
Hanover County24419
Henrico County1,339114
New Kent County261
Powhatan County260
Information from the Virginia Department of Health

Here are some tips 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.

Latest coronavirus headlines:

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus pandemic

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