COVID-19 cases rise 14 percent

Published 9:50 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2020

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Virginia cases of COVID-19 saw a 14-percent rise from Monday to Tuesday, going from 254 to 290, according to new numbers from the Virginia Department of Health.

The department reports 4,470 people have been tested. There are 45 hospitalizations and seven deaths reported.

The Western Tidewater Health District is reporting three cases, one in Suffolk and two in Isle of Wight County.

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The second Isle of Wight case, first reported in the official numbers Tuesday, is a man in his 50s who was recently discharged from the hospital and is now in home isolation, said Dr. Todd Wagner, director of the Western Tidewater Health District.

The Suffolk case, first reported last week, is a man in his 50s who recently returned from New York, which is currently suffering the worst outbreak in the United States.

The previous Isle of Wight case is a 27-year-old Smithfield woman who was informed she was a contact of another positive COVID-19 case and later sought testing and treatment when she became symptomatic, Wagner stated. She is isolating herself and recovering at home.

Gov. Ralph Northam said on Tuesday that difficult adjustments may be needed for months to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Virginia Department of Health is reporting 290 cases and seven deaths statewide. Northam warned during his update Tuesday afternoon that the diagnoses and, unfortunately, deaths will likely continue to rise.

“I think it’s fair to say we all want our lives to return to normal as fast as possible, but we have to use science, we have to use data, and do what’s in the best interest of us as Virginians,” Northam said. “The data tells us this will be with us for two to three months and perhaps even longer.”

Northam said Virginia’s “curve” will continue to rise.

“We have nowhere come close to hitting that peak of the curve … but hopefully we will flatten the curve,” he said, referring to the aim of lowering the peak of infections so as not to overwhelm the health care system.

He encouraged Virginians who are staying indoors and keeping away from others to stay the course, even though they may not be seeing the results of their sacrifices in the state’s daily numbers.

“Science and experience dealing with pandemics tells us these things will work,” he said.

Northam also spoke to the economic harm many Virginians are suffering.

“The sooner we can get the health crisis behind us, the sooner our economy will recover,” he said.