Other states criticized for blending COVID test results, Va. nearly hits 10,000 tests, social distancing haircuts become the norm, and more headlines

Virginia Mercury

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• It turns out Virginia wasn’t the only state blending viral and antibody test results into the same measure — a practice that led to scathing coverage of Virginia’s data practices.—The Atlantic

• Virginia has nearly reached its goal of 10,000 tests per day, recording 9,782 new diagnostic tests Wednesday.—WVTF

• “Nearly 860,000 additional travelers flocked to parts of Maryland and Virginia over the weekend as the states began to reopen Friday, according to researchers tracking smartphone data. Many of those travelers were from the Washington suburbs, which remained shut down due to their significantly higher coronavirus caseloads.”—The Washington Post

• The number of absentee ballots cast in Tuesday’s local elections surged, accounting for as many as 75 percent of the total votes cast in some cities.—WAMU, VPAP

• Gov. Ralph Northam announced he’s vetoing legislation that would have allowed professional associations like the Virginia Realtors negotiate health insurance plans for members. Northam argued the bill might make health insurance cheaper for members, but would undermine the individual marketplace where members would otherwise purchase insurance.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Virginia has so far hired 50 of the 1,300 contact tracers and associated positions health officials have said they need to manage the outbreak.—The Roanoke Times

• North Carolina will allow restaurants to reopen their dining rooms.—Associated Press

• “The lawyer behind the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Citizens United, is suing Virginia election officials to stop some voters from submitting absentee ballots in the upcoming June 23 primary. Jim Bopp, the Indiana attorney who filed the lawsuit in federal court earlier this month, said the state can’t let voters use ‘disability or illness’ as an excuse to vote by mail because of the coronavirus.”—VPM

• Nearly 30,000 adults enrolled in the state’s expanded Medicaid program since the coronavirus pandemic began.—Associated Press

• Researchers will study Stafford County’s wastewater to see if viral metabolites in excrement “can help serve as an early indicator of the disease before it spreads.”—The Free Lance-Star

• Prince William County appears less likely to continue partnering with ICE to enforce federal immigration laws after the county board of supervisors appointed new jail board members who are skeptical of the program.—Prince William Times

• George Mason University broke ranks with its fellow state colleges, announcing it would increase tuition slightly while other institutions have announced freezes in response to the pandemic.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• A Richmond-region barbershop owner says social distancing haircuts are going fine, touting a switch to single-use capes.—VPM