Portsmouth to hold several upcoming COVID-19 testing events, PPE giveaway


Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe held a press conference Friday afternoon to share updates on the city’s COVID-19 response, and announced several upcoming testing events and a personal protective equipment giveaway.

As of Friday, Portsmouth has 1,462 cumulative cases, 122 cumulative hospitalizations and 22 deaths linked to the virus. It also has the highest percentage of positive tests in the region at 17.5%. That rate has stayed steady the last two weeks.

Rowe says data shows many of the recent cases in the city have come from people ages 20-29, and have been linked to gatherings such as backyard cookouts, echoing Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments about new cases throughout the entire region.

Rowe says he’s focused on helping with access to testing, with 4 upcoming events at local churches, and on distributing personal protective equipment such as masks and hand sanitizer. A grant from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management helped buy the PPE, and a distribution event will be held next sometime next week. Rowe didn’t have a number of the amount of the PPE purchased.

Upcoming testing events include:

  • August 3: New Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Victory Blvd.
  • August 10: Calvary Baptist Church, London Blvd.
  • August 17: New Mount Vernon Baptist Church, Victory Blvd.
  • August 24: Ebenezer Baptist Church, Effingham St.

Rowe says testing is critical to control the spread of the virus, along with contact tracing.

With a hurricane possibly on the way, Rowe also said the city is making preparations, but it’s too early to say whether hurricane shelters will be opened.

For more information on COVID-19 in Portsmouth and Hampton Roads, click here.

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