Virginia COVID-19 deaths top 3,000, 5th District becomes ‘toss-up’ for fall election, Augusta prosecutor to investigate Richmond mayor, and more headlines

Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

• Health officials now attribute more than 3,000 deaths in Virginia to COVID-19. Nearly half of the cases were reported at long-term care facilities.—Roanoke Times

• Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg, returned to the House of Delegates’ virtual session after reporting to his church that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. Wright and the House GOP, which has repeatedly criticized Democrats for meeting remotely, refused to answer questions about his three-week absence. “He’s doing fine, thank you. That’s all I have to say.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• Election analysts at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report changed their rating for the 5th District race between Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb from “lean Republican” to “toss-up.” “It takes a perfect storm to elect a Democrat in the 5th CD, which sprawls from the North Carolina border to the D.C. exurbs. … But sometimes, perfect storms still happen.”—Fauquier Times

• Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., will debate Republican challenger Daniel Gade at Norfolk State University.—Virginian-Pilot

• The feds awarded $47.5 million to the North Carolina Department of Transportation to buy a rail right of way officials have been eyeing as part of a plan to establish high-speed passenger train service between Raleigh and Richmond.—News Observer

• Organizers dropped plans to paint “Black Lives Matter” in giant letters along a Richmond street after a candidate for City Council submitted an application to paint “Baby Lives Matter” in the street outside of Planned Parenthood’s offices. “It wasn’t just me. Some people I talked to wanted ‘Dancer Lives Matter’ on Midlothian in front of Paper Moon, some wanted Blue Lives Matter, and you can’t really stop it.”—VPM

• “Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin has been named as a special prosecutor who will lead an investigation into Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s handling of a $1.8 million contract reportedly given to one of his donors to remove the city’s confederate statues.”—News Leader

• At least 30 Richmond-area restaurants have closed during the pandemic.—Richmond Times-Dispatch

• William & Mary apologized for copying the text of a letter announcing the elimination of seven varsity sports from a similar announcement issued by Stanford University.—Daily Press

• Roanoke City Council agreed to give their Robert E. Lee memorial to a local cemetery. It will stand near the graves of 60 Confederate veterans and “a flagpole dedicated to the memory of the astronauts who died in the Challenger space shuttle explosion in 1986.”—Roanoke Times

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