coronavirus

Virginia Announces Coronavirus Clusters, Says to Expect Day Care Restrictions

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What to Know

  • As of Wednesday morning, Virginia had 77 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
  • A state official urged families to keep their children out of day care centers unless the parents are “essential personnel.” 
  • The governor said he is assessing “on a day-to-day basis” whether to keep schools closed for longer than two weeks. 

Virginia has 77 cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday morning, up an additional 10 cases from the previous day. 

Gov. Ralph Northam and state officials said the state now has clusters of virus cases, outside Northern Virginia, and that families who send their children to day care centers should expect big changes. 

There are three outbreaks of coronavirus in the state, Health Commissioner Norman Oliver said at a news conference. An outbreak is a group of “two or more cases that we can trace to a common exposure.” 

There are two outbreaks in Richmond, one in James City County and none in Northern Virginia, Oliver said. In James City County, there are 17 COVID-19 cases. Officials are investigating more than 350 people with whom those patients came into contact. 

Overall, the state’s northern health planning region had the most cases, at 39. There were 14 in the central region, 19 in the eastern region, five in the northwest region and zero in the southwest region. 

Go here to see a map of the health planning regions

Sixty-five coronavirus tests were pending. 

The state’s social services commissioner urged families to keep children out of day care centers unless the parents are “essential personnel.” 

“We ask all the parents of the Commonwealth, that if you are not an essential personnel, that you stay home with your children, like we are doing with schools, to make available capacity for child care centers to provide the necessary care to essential personnel,” Commissioner Duke Storen said. 

Unlike the situation in D.C. and Maryland, Virginia's governor has not ordered businesses to close. But Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey reports he is asking residents and businesses to abide by a new set of rules that limit public gatherings.

Day care centers can expect additional guidance from the state, Storen said, including a rule limiting the total number of adults and children in a classroom to ten. Day care centers will be asked to comply voluntarily. 

The governor said he is assessing “on a day-to-day basis” whether to keep schools closed for longer than two weeks. 

Additionally, Northam said he would donate blood Wednesday and urged “all healthy Virginians” to do so as well. 

Virginia's restaurants, gyms and theaters can now serve only 10 people at once, according to an emergency order Tuesday night from the governor. Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam had said the 10-person rule was only a recommendation. It now is required.

Virginia’s governor urged state residents to follow the federal government’s recommendation that Americans avoid gatherings of more than 10 people, but he stopped short of ordering businesses to close, as D.C. and Maryland have done.

Northam sought to soothe Virginians. 

“This is a very stressful and concerning time for every Virginian. It is likely to remain so for some time. Please, please continue to practice preventative health measures such as washing your hands, and please maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings,” he said. 

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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