Tuesday Update: Two Deaths in Henrico County, First Case in NRV

Mar 24, 2020

The Virginia Department of Health reported at least 290 positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, including the first in the New River Valley.  The Henrico County Health Department also reported two deaths there.

The health department says the two people, described in a news release as elderly, were at the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center when they became sick.  They were eventually hospitalized.

The facility and the health department have been working to relocate other affected patients for hospital care.

The VDH website, which updates around noon each day, also indicates that there are now 45 hospitalizations from the virus and that nearly 4,500 people have been tested.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.

The New River Valley Health District has confirmed its first case of COVID-19. That individual is a woman in her 20's. She is a Radford University student. In a statement, school officials say the student has not visited campus since returning from travel over spring break. She lives at an off-campus location and has only left for medical treatment.

Because of that, they say the risk to the school and surrounding community is very low.

During a news briefing Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam said the state has received its first shipment of personal protective equipment from the national stockpile. Those materials have already been distributed to health care providers across the state. A second shipment is expected next week.

The governor also said Virginia has purchased some PPE from a company overseas. Northam said Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia have reached an agreement to share any excess medical supplies as well.

Carilion Clinic is turning to the community for donations of surplus medical supplies.

The health system says it is currently conserving supplies to deal with the pandemic, but donations of personal protective equipment will make those resources go even farther. That includes items like gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer.

Credit Virginia Department of Health

Centra Health, in the Lynchburg area, is restricting elective clinic visits for all patients regardless of age. The health system is also asking the community to refrain from visiting its hospitals if possible.

With cabin-fever setting in and warmer weather in the forecast, a lot of people are looking for ways to get outdoors.  But officials say social distancing has to stay in effect there too.

Shenandoah National Park is closing some areas because of large crowds already this week.

And in Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney said groups of ten or more shouldn’t gather at the city’s basketball courts, rec facilities and the James River.  "We don’t want to see groups and groups, the sort of images we see out Clearwater Florida or even Virginia Beach here on the James River as well," Stoney said during a Tuesday morning news conference.

Stoney warned if groups continue to show up, the city would consider closing parks and recreation areas altogether.

**Editor's Note: Carilion Clinic is a financial supporter of RADIO IQ.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.