78 Virginians test positive

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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The number of COVID-19 cases in Virginia has increased to at least 78.

About 1,278 test results had been received as of noon Wednesday, with 77 people testing presumptive positive, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Later in the day Wednesday, the Norfolk Department of Public Health announced its first positive case, adding one more to the total of positive cases.

The Peninsula Health District continues to have the highest number of cases, with 15 — 13 in James City County and one each in York County and Williamsburg.

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It is one of three “outbreaks” of COVID-19 in the state, Dr. Norman Oliver, state health commissioner, stated in a press conference with Gov. Ralph Northam on Wednesday morning. An outbreak is defined as where two or more cases can be traced to a common source. The other two outbreaks in the state are in the Richmond area.

There are 14 cases in Arlington County, 14 in Fairfax County and five or fewer in Loudoun County, Chesterfield County, Virginia Beach, Prince William County, Richmond, Spotsylvania County, Stafford County, Charles City County, Goochland County, Hanover County, Henrico County, Alexandria, Charlottesville, Prince Edward County and Harrisonburg, as well as and the one announced in Norfolk late Wednesday.

The Norfolk patient is a male in his 50s who self-isolated upon the onset of symptoms, according to the Norfolk Department of Public Health. He likely acquired it from close contact with a confirmed case while traveling outside Virginia, the press release states. “There is no evidence of community transmission in Norfolk at this time,” it stated.

There are no confirmed cases so far in the Western Tidewater Health District, which includes the cities of Suffolk and Franklin, as well as Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

COVID-19 news briefs

Sentara suspends drive-through screening

Sentara has suspended its drive-through screening after two successful days due to its supply of tests running low, according to an update from the health system.

Testing, which was taking place at three Sentara locations in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Williamsburg, stopped at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“We know that COVID-19 is a critical concern for our communities, so we are actively working with state and federal officials to get more testing supplies,” the Sentara update stated.

Sentara still has the ability to test high-risk patients inside the hospital. Those who believe they have symptoms of COVID-19 — cough, fever and difficulty breathing — should contact their primary care provider or the Sentara COVID-19 call center at 1-833-945-2395.

Gala postponed

The Suffolk Education Foundation’s sixth annual gala scheduled for April 2 has been postponed, according to a Wednesday email from Bethanne Bradshaw with the Foundation. It will be rescheduled for either May or September.

DMV offices closed

All 75 Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles customer service centers are closed until at least April 2.

The closures includes DMV 2 Go and DMV Connect services.

Driver’s licenses and identification cards set to expire between March 15 and May 15 are extended 60 days from the original date of expiration. Vehicle registrations that expire in March and April are also extended for 60 days.

Virginians eligible to renew their licenses, identification cards or vehicle registration online are encouraged to do so. Mail-in options are also available for a number of transactions.

If in-person service is needed, these customers will have an additional 60 days to renew credentials without a late fee.

According to guidance from the Transportation Security Administration, travelers with a state driver’s license that expired beginning on March 1, 2020, and who are not able to renew at their state driver’s licensing agency, may still use it as acceptable identification at the checkpoint. TSA will accept expired driver’s licenses one year after the expiration date, plus 60 days after the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency.