UPDATED: Six Virginians have died from COVID-19; Va. cases climb to 220
State cases rose 44% in last 24 hours
UPDATE, 5 p.m., Sunday:
The Virginia Department of Health announced the deaths of three more Virginia residents Sunday, bringing the number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to six people. The three patients lived in the Peninsula District and were women in their 80s, according to a VDH news release.
One woman lived in a long-term care facility, and all three were hospitalized. The news release says they were residents of Newport News, Williamsburg and James City County, and they died from respiratory failure because of COVID-19. One was not included in the total of 219 cases earlier Sunday, so the total cases now is at 220, according to the health department.
A Fairfax man in his 60s is the third person to die from COVID-19 in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Sunday during his daily coronavirus news briefing. The commonwealth now has 219 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Virginia — 67 more than on Saturday and a 44% increase in 24 hours. Thirty-two Virginians are hospitalized from COVID-19, as of March 22.
“My sympathies and those of the entire commonwealth go out to his family and loved ones,” Northam said. “We are seeing this sharp increase in positive tests in part because we do have more capability for testing coming online. … We are [also] seeing it because this virus continues to spread. We talk about flattening the curve but, make no mistake, we are still in the early stages of that curve rising. How high and how quickly those numbers rise is up to you and me to ever single Virginian.”
Most of the new cases were identified by tests performed by private labs, said State Epidemiologist Dr. Laurie Forlano.
With Virginia’s K-12 schools now entering the second week of state-mandated closures, Northam said he would address Monday whether school closings will be extended beyond March 27.
The novel coronavirus has spread statewide, with 28 cases in Central Virginia, 70 in Eastern Virginia, 95 in Northern Virginia, 20 in the northwestern region and six in Southwest Virginia since the first case was confirmed in the commonwealth on March 7. As of March 21, there are more than 316,000 cases worldwide, with nearly 14,000 deaths reported. There are about 27,000 cases confirmed in the United States, with nearly 350 deaths so far.
Also during the Sunday briefing, Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian J. Moran said that there have been no COVID-19 cases identified in the state’s prisons.
Northam added, “It is clear that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time — months, not weeks. We need to adjust to that new reality.”