© 2022
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Beaches to Reopen This Week in Va. Beach, Task Force Working on School Reopening Plans

dashboard_5.18.jpg

Governor Ralph Northam says the first weekend of Virginia's Phase One reopening went well. He also announced Monday that beaches in Virginia Beach will reopen later this week.

In a Monday afternoon news conference, Northam thanked people and businesses who have followed the reopening guidelines.  He reminded Virginians that just because some areas of the state are reopening does not mean the crisis is over. 

Northam said beaches at Virginia Beach will be allowed to reopen for recreational use starting Friday.  Social distancing will still be enforced and parking will be limited to 50% of capacity.  Tents, speakers and group sports will not be allowed.  The mayor of Virginia Beach, who also spoke during the news conference," said "beach ambassadors" will educate beach goers about social distancing.  Mayor Bobby Dyer said everyone needs to be committed to being "safe and proactive."

Northam also said Monday that a team of education leaders is meeting regularly to develop next steps and guidelines for resuming school in the fall.  The group includes representatives from early childhood education, K-12 and higher ed.  Northam said getting students back into the classroom safely is an equity issue. "Right now there are about 550,000 families in Virginia that don’t have access to broadband.  So while it may sound reasonable and encouraging that we are educating our children through virtual learning, there are a number of children around Virginia that don’t have that opportunity," Northam said.

The state's secretary of education said the group will present recommendations and possible guidelines to the governor in the coming week.  The final product won't be a one-size-fits-all plan for the entire state, but likely a series of options dependent on conditions at the time.

Monday data update from Virginia Department of Health

Monday morning, the Virginia Department of Health reported 752 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state's total to 31,140.  Five additional deaths were reported.  That number is much lower than the seven-day average which has hovered around 26.  1,014 Virginians have died from COVID-19-related complications.

Testing has remained below the state's goal of 10,000 tests per day.  Only 5,803 new diagnostic (PCR) test results were entered into the state's database Monday. 194,677 such tests have been conducted since the crisis began.  Nevertheless, the state's average positivity rate has been slowly trending downward since mid-April and has now dipped slightly below 15%.

Hospital capacity, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and ventilator usage have all remained steady, according to data from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.