COVID cases rising faster in SW Virginia, Senate approves oversight of private detention centers, VCU researcher touts fecal transplants as potential alcoholism treatment, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

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• COVID-19 cases are rising faster in Southwest Virginia than any other region in the state. “The most concerning thing about Southwest, and I’ll repeat this, is we just don’t have the hospitals and especially the ICU capabilities,” said Gov. Ralph Northam.—Roanoke Times

• “Senate lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation that would establish state oversight of Virginia immigration facilities, allowing the state to inspect and require health safety standards of privately owned federal detention centers such as those in Caroline County and Farmville.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The CDC says testing delays and errors made it harder to control an outbreak that infected nearly every detainee in ICE’s Farmville detention center.—WVTF

• The Senate Courts of Justice Committee began considering criminal justice bills that advanced from the House of Delegates.—Roanoke Times

• Arlington County is considering changing its official symbol, “a stylized image of the mansion where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee once lived that one public official described as ‘a plantation house.’”—Washington Post

• “The city of Portsmouth will pay $200,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a man who was shot by a police officer in 2017 as he ran from a burglary.”—Virginian-Pilot

• Tony Pham, a refugee from Vietnam who grew up in Chesterfield and has worked in criminal justice jobs around the region, took over as acting director of ICE. Protesters staged a demonstration in front of his home Tuesday.—Chesterfield Observer, WRIC

• A researcher at VCU says his research links alcoholism to bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and sees promise in fecal transplants as a treatment. “Our gut is a beautiful rainforest – an ecosystem,” he says, and alcohol “basically squashes down that huge diversity that is found in the ecosystem. It kind of gets reduced to a desert.”—WVTF

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