RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Accomack County, Richmond City and the Northern Virginia region will all head into phase 1 of Virginia’s reopening plan on Friday after delaying the process by two weeks.
Governor Northam made the announcement on Wednesday in a tweet.
All three areas have been hit hard by coronavirus, with Northern Virginia in particular still accounting for the majority of Virginia’s cases, hospitalizations and deaths each day. On Wednesday the region accounted for 37 of 45 deaths reported.
Accomack meanwhile has seen its number of new daily COVID-19 cases reported by the Virginia Department of Health drop considerably since May 15, with a major catch — VDH still hasn’t added many of the known 510 positive cases from the county’s Perdue and Tyson chicken plants.
Since adding “about 85” of the cases to Accomack’s total on May 15, VDH has added just more than 100 total cases in general to Accomack’s count, with roughly 30 new cases in Northampton. VDH claimed it had to manually input the data because labs used for testing weren’t hooked up to VDH’s system, and some of the plant workers were from neighboring Maryland. The 510 cases accounted for about 18 percent of the plants’ roughly 3,000 workers.
Accomack also tested just over 1,400 people at a community testing event at the Eastern Shore Community College in addition to the poultry plants, where just 3.5% tested positive. Those figures coincide with a spike in VDH data around May 14 and 15.
The Eastern Shore hasn’t conducted significant widescale testing of the general public since then.
After that community testing, the Eastern Shore’s positivity rate (VDH doesn’t break down testing data specifically for Accomack) has gone from more than 40% to under 13%. The addition of the chicken plants would alter that figure.
Richmond City says its “cautiously” moving in phase 1, after Gov. Northam denied Mayor Levar Stoney’s request for a modified plan 1. Read more about Richmond’s plans here.