Latest on coronavirus in Va. & NC: Cooper shares updates


FILE – In this Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, file photo, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks at the Blue NC celebration at the Hilton Charlotte University Place in Charlotte, N.C. North Carolina voters were deciding on Super Tuesday which Democrat they believe can unseat Sen. Thom Tillis and whether the current GOP lieutenant governor is the one best suited to oust Gov. Roy Cooper in the fall. (Joshua Komer/The Charlotte Observer via AP, File)


4:57 p.m. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants, gyms and theaters to serve no more than 10 customers at a time in response to the coronavirus.

4:50 p.m. The Supreme Court of Virginia issued an order March 17 declaring a judicial emergency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order suspended all non-essential and non-emergency court proceedings for 21 days — including evictions, according to a news release from the Office of the Attorney General.

Northam also urged Virginians on Tuesday to comply with new federal guidelines not to gather in groups of more than 10 and for people older than 65 to self-quarantine.

11:43 a.m. Glenn Dubois, who is the chancellor for Virginia’s Community Colleges, announced the cancellation of spring commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, March 17. The cancellations are to limit the spread of coronavirus in Virginia.

11:10 a.m. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles is closed to the public until April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

11:05 a.m. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam says positive cases of coronavirus are now up to 67, with 2 deaths.

The figure is up from 51 positive cases reported Monday afternoon by the Virginia Department of Health.

Cases in Virginia as of noon Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Northam says no gathering should be more than 10 people, aligning with federal guidelines, and urges those 65-plus to self-quarantine. He asked people to help out the older population during the outbreak, and think about their parents, grandparents and neighbors.“We all have a responsibility to each other,” he said.

1 of the new cases was at a long-term care facility, but Northam didn’t say where exactly.

Northam also didn’t go as far as to close all restaurants and bars for dine-in customers like North Carolina, but said they must significantly reduce capacity to adhere to the federal guidelines. He’s encouraging restaurants to offer takeout and delivery options.

Officials could not say how many ventilators were available in the state, but said they’d share that number later Tuesday.

10:45 a.m. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to provide updates on the commonwealth’s coronavirus response at 11 a.m.

As of Tuesday morning, 51 people had tested positive for the virus and 489 people had been tested. 2 deaths linked to the virus have been reported, both James City County men in their 70s.

10:25 a.m. — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that all of the state’s bars and restaurants must close for dine-in customers starting at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Both takeout and delivery orders can still continue. Cooper says his executive order will also include the expansion of unemployment benefits for workers affected by the outbreak.

North Carolina has reported 40 positive cases as of Tuesday morning across 16 counties. No deaths have been reported in connection to the virus.

Cooper is expected to hold a media briefing Tuesday at 2 p.m. to announce the executive order. As of Tuesday morning, Virginia has yet to close bars and restaurants for dine-in customers.

12:58 p.m. — Officials have restricted visitor access to Dare County to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The visitor access restriction begins Tuesday, March 17, at 2 p.m. Information on when it will be lifted have not been available.

Although there are currently no one in Dare County who have tested positive for COVID-19, officials say they have weighed the potential health benefits of the restriction on the community.

Beginning at 2 p.m., checkpoints will be up at entry points to Dare County and no visitors will be allowed access. Reentry permits from previous years will NOT be accepted.

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