RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Nearly five months after Mayor Levar Stoney declared a state of emergency in Richmond, he is reminding residents to stay vigilant as the city continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That is our only hope in the battle with this disease,” the mayor said Wednesday.
Richmond has reported over 3,000 cases of COVID-19, 2,982 confirmed and 52 probable in the city. Two-hundred-eighty-six people are hospitalized and 39 have died from the novel coronavirus.
There will be three free testing events in the city this week, which will be held rain or shine and are open to people who are uninsured or underinsured.
Free testing events this week:
- Friday, Aug. 7 at the Hotchkiss Field Community Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the Broad Rock Community Center from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 13 at Tuckahoe Middle School from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
In an update Wednesday, Dr. Danny Avula with the Richmond Health District called July a “roller coaster.” Although the month ended with a slight upward trend in cases and hospitalizations, Avula said the city has seen a significant decrease in the percent positivity at its regular free testing events.
“I don’t know exactly what to read into that. There certainly is an air of hopefulness as we’ve also seen the daily case count in our Latinx community have a very steady downward trend as well,” said Avula.
However, the virus continues to disproportionately take the lives of black and brown Richmond residents. Thirty of the city’s 39 deaths have been from the African American or Latinx community.
Latinos make up 45.5 percent of cases in the city, however, Avula said they are seeing a steady downward trend in daily case counts within the Latinx community.
Avula said there has been a spike in cases for younger people, specifically aged 20 to 29. He reminded everyone the virus can affect younger people too, pointing out one recent Richmond death. “A woman in her 40s who had been hospitalized for a couple of months on a ventilator,” he said.
“We have to continue to be vigilant,” Mayor Stoney reiterated.
He also warned that, when vaccines are made widely available, it will be some time before returning to normalcy. “We should not expect things to improve immediately. There will be a long, slow rebuilding process,” said Avula.
“The last month has been a bit of a roller coaster as it relates to the disease rates in our city,” Dr. Avula said. The city is averaging 25 to 30 new cases a day, officials said during Wednesday’s press conference.
WATCH MAYOR STONEY’S PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW: