THE BULLETIN — News to know

Quick hits on the news of the day, odds and ends and commentary.

Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 cases rise to 890, a coronavirus outbreak at Liberty, Richmond-area prisoners remain in jail, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases nearly doubled over the weekend, from 460 this time Friday to 890. The number of deaths rose to 22, with six now reported at a long-term care facility outside of Richmond.—The Virginian-Pilot• Nearly a dozen Liberty University students are sick with symptoms of COVID-19, according to the school’s medical director. After initially encouraging students to return to campus, the school is now offering $1,000 credits to students who leave dorms.—The New York Times, The News & Advance• Online learning isn’t a good fit for some subjects,...

Northam requests federal aid to fully mobilize Virginia National Guard

Virginia’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging him to “quickly approve” a request for federal funding for the Virginia National Guard.Gov. Ralph Northam requested funding on Tuesday under Title 32, a section of the U.S. code that enables the federal government to fully pay for a state’s National Guard. Under Title 32 status, state governors still command the National Guard, but the federal government fully absorbs the cost, Virginia Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs Carlos Hopkins said at press briefing on Friday. Without that status, states are responsible for paying National Guard troops...
Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 cases rise to 460, Virginia lags other states on testing, grocers add plexiglass to shield cashiers, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Health officials say 460 people have now tested positive for COVID-19, 65 are hospitalized and 13 have died. Doctors say the true number of infected people could easily be eight to 10 times higher. “We’re probably testing the tip of the iceberg.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch• Virginia appears to have fallen behind other states in testing capacity, a huge issue according to researchers: “The delay in the ability to diagnose this because of the test limitations has put public health departments behind the 8-ball on doing what is really important.”—The Virginian-Pilot• “46,885 Virginians filed...

Pandemic spurs U.S. Senate to pass historic aid package

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate late Wednesday night approved a $2 trillion spending bill that aims to provide economic relief for workers and businesses and to aid hospitals and states reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.The chamber voted 96-0 to pass the bill in an unusual display of bipartisanship."This is not the first step Congress has taken to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, nor will it be the last. This bill provides significant financial relief to our families and businesses struggling with the effects of widespread closures and other public health measures," said U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat. "It...
Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 cases rise to 391, planned teacher raises in jeopardy, liquor sales up 59 percent, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Virginia rose 35 percent to 391, and a third patient at a long-term care facility outside of Richmond died. Health officials and staff at the center say they don’t have the protective gear they need to contain the outbreak, which has already spread to 18 patients and staff. —The Washington Post• “Gov. Ralph Northam is asking health professionals to volunteer to help during the coronavirus pandemic and is mandating all medical facilities postpone elective surgeries.”—The Virginian-Pilot• What you can do right now to...

Richmond judge loosens petition signature rules for GOP U.S. Senate primary due to coronavirus

A Richmond judge has granted a Republican candidate's emergency request to lower the petition signature requirements for the GOP's upcoming U.S. Senate primary because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Omari Faulkner — one of roughly a half-dozen Republicans seeking the nomination to challenge U.S. Sen, Mark Warner, D-Va., in the fall — filed a lawsuit this week asking the court to suspend a law requiring candidates to gather 10,000 petition signatures from Virginia voters in order to have their name on the ballot for the June 9 primary. The rule exists to force candidates to show organizational aptitude and weed out...

Army Corps to begin identifying Virginia locations for temporary hospitals

Virginia is the latest state to ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin looking at hotels, dorms and arenas that can be converted into temporary “alternate care sites” to handle patients suffering from COVID-19."Our team of dedicated employees are working diligently to meet the call of our nation and help tackle the problem that this virus has created for our national health care network," said Lt. Col. Alexander Samms, deputy commander of the Norfolk District that encompasses Central, Tidewater and parts of Northern Virginia, in a press release.While still lagging New York’s numbers, Virginia’s confirmed COVID-19 cases...

U.S. Senate vows ‘big help, quick help’ with $2T coronavirus bill

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers announced the framework for a bipartisan deal on a $2 trillion spending package early Wednesday morning, but specifics of a final bill and a timeline for enactment remain uncertain.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that he expected the chamber to pass the legislation on Wednesday. He said the bill isn’t a stimulus package, but “emergency relief” for Americans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.“Help is on the way, big help, quick help,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on Wednesday. The measure would be the largest economic stimulus package enacted by the U.S. government.But House Democrats and some...
Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 cases rise to 290, Liberty reopening sparks criticism, hiking spots see record visits, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.•Two elderly nursing home residents died of COVID-19 in Henrico, bringing the total number of fatalities in Virginia to nine. The total number of confirmed cases in the state stands at 290.—Richmond Times-Dispatch• Gov. Ralph Northam pushed back against President Trump’s suggestion that the country will be back to normal in a few weeks. “It would be nice to say that this will be behind us in two weeks. That’s really not what the data tells us. What the data tells us is this will be with us for at...
Virginia Mercury

COVID-19 cases rise to 254, state revenue losses could top $1 billion, grocer hiring spike, and more headlines

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Virginia recorded its seventh death from COVID-19—a Virginia Beach man in his 70s. A total of 254 people have now tested positive for the virus, and 38 people are hospitalized.—The Virginian-Pilot• “Virginia’s top finance official says the state is likely to lose $1 billion in revenue in each year of the pending two-year budget — and that’s the best scenario, assuming significant aid from the federal government for workers and business owners who have lost their livelihoods because of the coronavirus pandemic.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch• Which industries are essential and non-essential in the...