Stoney: New COVID cases doubled over Christmas holiday, 160 teachers impacted

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a briefing today, Mayor Levar Stoney addressed a surge in COVID cases over the Winter holiday.

The surge has affected 160 teachers and a number of bus drivers, leading to significant teaching disruptions and transportation delays in the city.

On Dec. 24, the city’s 7-day moving average of cases was 173, but today that average stood at 465. 587 cases were reported on Jan. 6 alone.

“For some context, that’s almost two times what it was the day before the Christmas holiday,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.

Watch Mayor Levar Stoney’s full press briefing.

Amy Popovich, Nurse Manager for the Richmond and Henrico Health District, said the surge in cases this Winter was much larger than last year’s, with nearly double the case counts already – but that there was some good news as well.

“Right now there are about 3,000 hospitalizations for COVID across our state and about 280 ventilators being used,” said Popovich. “The good news is the rate is much lower – we have many higher cases, much fewer hospitalizations.”

But she added that the sheer number of cases caused by the highly-infectious Omicron variant was still putting a strain on hospitals.

Stoney said many teachers were staying home out of an abundance of caution as a result of minor symptoms.

“Here’s the thing: I think it’s better to be safe than sorry,” he said. “But that obviously creates a serious impact on the way we go about everyday business of running the system or running a school system.”

The briefing also included a presentation from Dironna Clarke, head of the Office of Equitable Transit and Mobility. She introduced the city’s transit equity plan, which is designed to address racial inequalities in Richmond’s transit systems.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the transit planning process, including the location of new public transit options, can join a public webinar on Jan. 10 from 1-2 p.m.

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