Va. cases jump to 77, with three ‘outbreaks’ across state
Blood drive cancelations have also caused blood supply shortages, Gov. Northam announces.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Virginia grew by 10 overnight to a total of 77 coronavirus cases identified statewide, State Health Commissioner Dr. M. Norman Oliver confirmed during a news conference Wednesday morning.
The commonwealth is experiencing three “outbreaks” of the COVID-19 illness, Oliver said, defined as when two or more cases can be traced back to a common exposure. The first outbreak was in James City County, where 17 people who tested positive for coronavirus have come into contact with 315 people. All of those who were potentially exposed to the disease are being investigated, Oliver says.
Oliver said that the other two outbreaks are in the city of Richmond and are not connected to the patient in Westminster Canterbury Richmond or a case at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, where several people have reportedly self-quarantined after being exposed to the patients.
In a Wednesday news release from Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s office, four men who live in the city have tested positive for COVID-19.
Of the 77 cases, there are 14 in Central Virginia, 19 in Eastern Virginia, 39 in Northern Virginia and 5 in the northwest region. As of Wednesday morning, there were still no confirmed cases in Southwest Virginia, Oliver said. He added that there are currently 65 known tests being performed in Virginia at the state lab and private labs.
There are approximately 2,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds across the commonwealth’s hospitals, Secretary of Health and Human Resources Daniel Carey says. Each of these units is equipped with ventilators and respiratory support equipment. The six regional health care coalitions in commonwealth have 400 ventilator units on hand that can be deployed to hospitals as necessary, he added.
Carey also said that the state is working with supermarkets to set social distancing standards that keep people safe while allowing shoppers to purchase food and other necessities.
Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner S. Duke Storen will release guidance to child care providers on how to meet the governor’s ban restricting social gatherings to 10 people, he says.
The Red Cross is experiencing a shortage of blood due to blood drive cancelations, Northam said.
“Emergency surgeries don’t stop,” Northam says. “Our need for blood does not stop.”
There has been no evidence that the illness can be transmitted through blood, said the governor, adding that he will be donating blood today. If a person wants to donate blood, they should visit redcrossblood.org and make an appointment at a local blood donation facility, a representative of the American Red Cross of Virginia said at the news conference.