RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Department of Health is reporting 391 positive coronavirus cases in Virginia on Wednesday, up 101 cases from Tuesday’s figure of 290.
VDH is also reporting three new deaths related to the virus, two from the Peninsula Health District and one from the Danville Health District.
In regards to the Peninsula cases, VDH says one patient was a woman in her 80s and the other a woman in her 60s. Both died from respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19. At this time, VDH does know how either woman contracted the virus.
The number of hospitalizations also continues to rise, with 59 total hospitalizations compared to 45 on Tuesday. 5,370 tests have been administered across the state in total.
The new figures from VDH come a day after Governor Ralph Northam said Virginians should expect cases to continue to rise, despite new restrictions implemented by the commonwealth, such as the closure of some non-essential businesses and K-12 schools.
“Our numbers … are going to keep going up. Our deaths, unfortunately, are going to keep going up. We have nowhere come close to hitting that peak of the curve,” Northam said Tuesday.
Northam’s first line of defense is more staffing. The state is looking for healthcare professionals 18 or older, who are currently or previously licensed.
“We’re exploring ways for qualified medical professionals to help out. This includes reworking our licensing procedures and considering use of medical students and others,” he said.
The state is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build emergency medical sites around the commonwealth for when the virus peaks.
“We anticipate overburdening the capacity of our current health care system,” Northam said. “To date, it has not been necessary but preparation is everything.”
Lastly, Northam signed an executive order that postponed all elective surgeries. This action preserves bed space and the current supply of masks, gowns and gloves which are going fast.
“These are highly trained individuals, they are finite in number so we need to do everything we can to protect them and keep them healthy,” he said.
The Virginia Medical Reserve Corp could also be deployed. The VMRC is a force of dedicated volunteers on standby during a public health crisis.
If you’re interested in volunteering, visit VAMRC.org.
Northam’s office announced Wednesday that he is scaling back his daily news conferences on COVID-19. They will now be held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
More info from VDH’s website: http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/