COVID-19 cases rise to 94, Southwest reports first case, work stoppages spreading, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• The state reported 94 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up from 77 yesterday and 17 at this time last week. There are some inconsistencies in the way the state is reporting the data, with figures released by local health departments not matching up with the state’s reports.—The Virginian-Pilot

• UVA’s health system says it now has the capability to conduct limited COVID-19 testing on its own, with a capacity of about 20 tests per day and a goal to raise that number to 80 over the weekend.—The Daily Progress

• Southwest Virginia logged its first case, with a woman in her 80s from Botetourt testing positive.—The Roanoke Times

• Doctors who manage more than a dozen nursing homes are frustrated by state rules that delay testing for their residents, who are most likely to die from the virus. “The Department of Health has been misaligning resources to more healthy people rather than the people at most risk from bad outcomes.” The state has now confirmed two cases in assisted living facilities, one in Richmond and one in Fairfax.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Alexandria physician Eran Greenberg estimates at least 300 of his patients with cold and flu symptoms asked to be tested for the coronavirus over the last month — but he couldn’t get a test for any of them.”—WAMU

• Work stoppages around the state have spread to the industrial sector. Goodyear announced it’s closing its plant in Danville amid slowing demand. With 2,000 employees, it’s the city’s largest employer and expected to have a devastating impact on the local economy. “I just can’t imagine worse than having Goodyear joining our business shutdowns,” Danville City Councilman Fred Shanks said.—The Danville Register & Bee

• Officials cleared an 80-person tent encampment in the shadow of downtown Richmond. Residents were promised two-week hotel stays or shelter placements. “It would be very difficult to socially distance and perform the cleaning and hand hygiene that we really need in the encampment setting.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized Virginia for not doing more to stop public gatherings and allowing bars and restaurants to remain open.—The Washington Post

• Richmond-area police said they would issue warnings before citing any businesses for violating a ban on 10 or more customers in restaurants, gyms and theaters. “Our primary goal is to educate business owners and managers about the order to gain voluntary compliance.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Virginia will allow all individuals and businesses to delay paying their 2019 income taxes by 30 days, bumping the deadline to pay from May 1 to June 1. The state will not follow the federal government’s 90-day delay, as top state officials argue that doing so would expose the state to a budget shortfall.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A distillery on the Outer Banks transitioned to making 150-proof hand sanitizer, which it’s giving away for free on the condition that recipients don’t drink it.—The Virginian-Pilot

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