Health officials say COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in the Richmond area.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Melissa Viray, deputy director of the Richmond City Health Department, said the increase is being driven partly by outbreaks at long term care facilities, but also by exposures at weddings, restaurants and workplaces.
"Right now is our opportunity to cut this off," Viray said. "If we can continue to be vigilant as Mayor Stoney said about mask wearing and social distancing, we won’t see a surge." Viray said continuing increases could impact all of Richmond's communities. She also warned that increases in ICU hospitalizations and ventilator usage are also being seen in suburban areas around the city.
Viray said she's worried that COVID fatigue is setting in and people are not being careful about wearing masks and avoiding crowds. She also said it's important to remember that a person can be infectious before they begin showing symptoms or test positive. "People don't frequently go out when they're infectious. People aren't intentionally going out there, but they don't know. And so that's why it's especially critical that people stay vigilant, wear their masks and stay socially distant."
Mayor Levar Stoney said he would not hesitate to roll back the city’s reopening plan if the health department recommends it.
A total of 4,958 people have tested positive for the virus in the City of Richmond. Sixty-two have died.