New hospitalization numbers, Northam suspends new spending in pending budget, a surge in gun purchases, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• “One month since the first positive COVID-19 test was announced in Virginia, state officials on Monday reported 2,878 confirmed cases and 54 deaths.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• “Eight more residents of a long-term care facility in Henrico who tested positive for coronavirus have died, bringing the death toll amid the outbreak to 28.”—Associated Press

• A consortium of state hospitals began releasing new data showing how many patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (1,194), how many are in ICU beds (387), and how many are on ventilators (285).—Daily Press

• Gov. Ralph Northam urged people to wear masks when they leave the house to prevent the spread of disease, briefly putting on a cloth mask made by state prison inmates.—The Virginian-Pilot

• It could be weeks before localities see their share of an estimated $3.3 billion in federal funds headed to Virginia to aid the coronavirus response.—The Roanoke Times

• “Northam will suspend all new spending in the pending two-year, $135 billion state budget and divert planned deposits in the state’s reserves to pay for essential services in the public health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• While the House of Delegates is planning to meet outdoors for the April 22 reconvened session to give themselves more space to spread out, the Senate is planning to meet at the Science Museum of Virginia.—Richmond Times Dispatch

• The state alcohol authority cleared distilleries to deliver alcohol directly to customers. “ABC Chief Executive Officer Travis Hill said distilleries are essential to the ‘economic vitality’ of the state.”—Associated Press

• A resident of a Virginia sex offender treatment center tested positive for COVID-19.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• The state recorded a record 80,228 background checks for firearms purchases last month amid fears that the spread of the virus could lead to a breakdown of public order. “It’s like a parachute or a fire extinguisher. You never really want to use it, but it’s nice to know that you have it,” said a business analyst picking up a semiautomatic shotgun at a Hanover County shop.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

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