Northam bans gatherings of more than 100 people statewide, discourages people from going to bars, restaurants

Coronavirus

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam banned all gatherings of 100 people or more on Sunday night in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Virginia.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth rose to 45 on Sunday, up from 41 on Saturday afternoon. 408 people had been tested as of Sunday, the Virginia Department of Health’s website says.

One of the latest cases is a Virginia Beach woman in her 70s and a contact of a previous case.

Virginia Beach health officials say they were international travelers to an area affected by COVID-19. The individuals reportedly followed guidelines to remain at home and limit their contact with others.

Virginia’s health commissioner, Dr. Norman Oliver, said with each case they do contact investigation to trace who has the virus and where they got it, but that process can be challenging.

James City County in the Peninsula Health District has seen 8 confirmed cases so far, the highest number in a locality outside of Northern Virginia, which has more than 20 confirmed cases.

“The cases in the Peninsula were all clustered around two index cases, except for one case in which we were unable to find any source of exposure, and it’s that case that makes us concerned for the likelihood of community spread,” he said.

Local officials joined the governor in urging residents to avoid gatherings of more than 50 people on the Peninsula, including church services, going to bars and restaurants, social gatherings and public events to try to flatten the curve and stop the spread of the virus.

“What we are trying to achieve here is the kind of social distancing that experts tell us is critical to stop the spread of the virus,” he said in the conference on Sunday.

Officials also reported the first coronavirus related death in Virginia. The hospitalized man in his 70s, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, died from a respiratory failure due to the virus.

Governor Northam said that he was “deeply saddened” in a statement released regarding the death.

“The health of Virginians and our communities is my most important priority right now. As a commonwealth, we have taken major, critical steps to stop the spread of COVID- 19.”

You can check out the coronavirus tracking map here.


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