Coronavirus Monday updates: Va. schools closed through end of academic year, NC schools closed through May 15

Virginia

The latest on the coronavirus in Virginia and North Carolina


7:30 p.m. The chief executives of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia held a meeting via call Monday to plan coronavirus response throughout the region.

They discussed making a concerted effort on testing in the region, as well as a regional framework on business impacts. They also discussed coordinating messaging to encourage residents to be “good neighbors by staying at home.”

They released a joint statement:

“As leaders of the three jurisdictions of the National Capital Region, we carry a unique responsibility to keep the federal government operating. Our actions promote the health and safety of more than 360,000 federal workers who live and work across our three jurisdictions. No other region in the country bears this responsibility. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we call on the federal government to provide additional financial support to help our jurisdictions maintain the health and safety of the region and the federal workers who serve the American people.

“The COVID-19 virus knows neither borders nor boundaries––it does not recognize state or city lines. We are working closely together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Together, we are promoting social distancing and encouraging all of our residents to stay at home and avoid crowds and gatherings. In each of our jurisdictions, we will be enforcing crowd control measures and social distancing standards.

“We will continue to work together to keep our residents and the federal workforce as healthy and safe as possible in the coming weeks and months.”

– Mayor Muriel Bowser of D.C., Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam

4:05 p.m. Chincoteague officials asks all visitors and non-residents to leave the island amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Officials made the announcement Monday afternoon asking all visitors and non-residents to leave the island by Tuesday noon, March 24, and asked those who are planning a trip to postpone until further notice.

All island hotels, motels cottages, bed and breakfasts, home rental companies, Airbnbs, and campgrounds are asked not to accept any new reservations until further notice.

4:00 p.m. The Virginia Beach Health Department reports its first COVID-19 death.

On Monday, the health department said a male in his 70s died after being hospitalized and testing positive for COVID-19.

The man had underlying health conditions and his cause of death was acute respiratory failure.

“At this time, it is early in the process to identify the source of transmission,” the health department wrote in a news release.

3:45 p.m. A shipbuilder at Newport News Shipbuilding tests positive for COVID-19, according to shipyard President Jennifer Boykin.

The person self-reported the positive test to the shipyard Monday after being diagnosed over the weekend.


2:02 p.m. Virginia public schools will remain closed through the rest of the academic year, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Monday.

“School closures are necessary to minimize the speed at which COVID19 spreads and protect the capacity of our healthcare system,” Northam said.

Virginia becomes just the second state to close public schools through the end of the academic year, joining Kansas.

Northam says school division leaders will decide how they’ll educate their students through the end of the school year, and the state’s department of education will issue guidance. The announcement came about an hour after North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper delayed the opening of state public schools until May 15.

He’s also calling for the closure of some non-essential businesses, including hair salons and barbers, spas, massage parlors, bowling alleys and theaters, but is allowing some non-essential brick-and-mortar retail stores to remain open if they have 10 or fewer patrons inside. Those restrictions will be in place for at least the next 30 days and go into effect at midnight Tuesday.

“With this pandemic, states have been left to figure out this on our own, and I am acting to protect Virginians,” Northam said. “It is important to acknowledge there is no playbook, every action affects people their livelihoods. We are acting judiciously and with full regard with the consequences.”

Restaurants and bars can remain open, but only for takeout and delivery. Grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and other businesses are considered essential and will remain open, but Northam said they need to make sure people stay apart (6 feet or more) and “step up” sanitizing practices.

Virginia’s ABC stores are also considered essential and will remain open, with 10 patrons or fewer inside.

“It is clear that many of our nonessential businesses must close to minimize the speed at which COVID-19 spreads and protect the capacity of our health care system,” Northam said. “The point is to limit the places where people gather in groups.”

He says a full list of businesses considered essential and non-essential will be posted on the state’s website.

“We have an economic crisis, but the sooner that we can get this health crisis under control, the sooner our economy will recover.”

1:03 p.m. — North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says the state’s K-12 schools will stayed closed through May 15, and he’s issuing an executive order to close gyms, movie theaters, sweepstakes parlors, and hair and nail salons, effective Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Watch his press conference here. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to make an announcement on Virginia’s schools at 2 p.m.

12:45 p.m. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper is holding his daily press conference at 1 p.m. App users, click here to watch live.

12:05 p.m. — The Virginia Department of Health is now reporting 254 positive cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth, up from 219 on Sunday.

The number of people who have died from the novel coronavirus has stayed at 6, with 5 of those cases in the Peninsula Health District. The three most recent deaths were announced Sunday, three women in their 80s from Newport News, Williamsburg and James City County.

38 people have been hospitalized, VDH says. 3,697 people have been tested so far.

Here are the latest numbers in each locality:

Virginia Beach: 17

Norfolk: 4

Portsmouth: 1

Gloucester: 2

James City County: 34

Williamsburg: 5

Newport News: 2

Accomack: 1

York: 5

Isle of Wight: 1

Suffolk: 1

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is set to hold his daily coronavirus press conference Monday at 2 p.m., where he’s expected to announce his plan for commonwealth’s K-12 schools going forward. On Monday, Maryland’s governor announced the closure of all non-essential businesses. Virginia has yet to do the same.

9 a.m. — North Carolina health officials said there are now 297 cases of coronavirus across the state, and still no deaths. 8,438 tests have been completed.

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