WATCH: Mayor Stoney says he has been tested for COVID-19; Richmond will not enter Phase Two for at least two weeks

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Mayor Levar Stoney announced he had been exposed to and was tested for the coronavirus at a press conference today about the outbreak in Richmond.

The mayor said he has not dug through his voicemails yet to find the results, but he believes he’s negative. This comes after Stoney marched with hundreds of protestors on Tuesday.

He said the health district was doing its best to hold coronavirus testing events around the area to ensure everyone can get tested. You can get more details on testing and find upcoming events on the VDH’s website.

Stoney said despite the pandemic, people had been gathering in mass to peacefully protest. He said expressing this pain and demanding change is necessary, but there is still a deadly pandemic going on.

He said of the 25 people in Richmond who died of COVID-19, 17 were black. Dr. Danny Avula, Richmond health director, said 50 percent of people hospitalized with the virus in our community are black, and 30 percent are latinx.

Avula said he suspects the they will see an increase in the disease.

“So I urge you if you’ve been out protesting, whether you were wearing a mask or not, take advantage of these community testing events,” he said.

“Not only to protect yourself but to protect those you’ve been around while protesting.”

Stoney also announced several changes they would be making to address issues of racial inequality and police brutality :

  • Implement crisis alert “Marcus Alert” to make sure those having mental health crises can get the help they need in form of de-escalation by experts rather than police officers.
  • They are establishing a civilian review board for the police board.
  • The city is implementing racial sensitivity training for its employees.
  • Submitting an ordinance to remove all of the confederate statues off Monument Avenue.
  • Stoney spoke to the Attorney General and said protestors who were only arrested for breaking curfew should have their charges dropped.

Stoney also announced the city would not enter Phase Two of reopening for another two weeks. Richmond and Northern Virginia are the only two areas in the state not entering Phase Two of reopening today.

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