COVID-19 cases rise to 219, Northam’s restrained response to virus spread, mass rescheduling of weddings, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Virginia nearly doubled over the weekend, increasing from 114 Friday to 152 Saturday and 219 Sunday. The number of deaths also doubled, from three to six. “COVID-19 is going to be with us for a long time — months, not weeks. We need to begin adjusting to that reality,” Northam said.—Associated Press

• “Perhaps the biggest mystery to arise from the Washington region’s initial response to the coronavirus outbreak has been the caution and restraint shown by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D), according to officials and political analysts. Northam, a pediatric-neurologist-turned-politician, has consistently been slower than Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) to order measures to compel social distancing — the principal way to delay the virus’s spread.”—The Washington Post

• “A Fairfax County psychiatrist resigned Friday over what he called inadequate safeguards against novel coronavirus infection from patients at the county’s Merrifield Center for mental health treatment.”—The Washington Post

• Parents, children and schools are developing new routines as schools statewide enter their second week of closures. “Nobody has ever really done this before,” said Jessica Dennis, a kindergarten teacher at Tallwood Elementary in Virginia Beach. “It’s really just playing it by ear.”—The Virginian-Pilot

• “The 2020 census is moving ahead as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as public officials and advocacy groups rethink outreach efforts to boost completion.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Wedding planners say couples who planned to marry in April are largely rescheduling while couples with May dates are holding out hope they’ll still be able to gather. “Weddings are stressful enough, good lord, without this.”—The Roanoke Times

• The National Park Service shut down some of its more popular trails amid a crush of visitors over the weekend they said made it impossible to meet social distancing guidelines. “If you encounter a crowded trailhead, go elsewhere.”—Rappahannock News

• In the District of Columbia, the park service implemented widespread street closures around the Tidal Basin in an attempt to discourage mass visitation of the area’s cherry blossoms, which peaked over the weekend.—WTOP

• With the nation experiencing a toilet paper shortage, your local sewage treatment plant kindly requests that you not flush anything you might be using as a substitute for the real thing. Paper towels, wipes, tissues: Even if it says it’s flushable, it’s not and can jam up the sewers, which is the last thing anyone needs right now.—The Virginian-Pilot

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