What to Know
- A man at an assisted living facility in Falls Church was diagnosed with the virus. Two workers there are in isolation.
- The state's head of public safety called for alternatives to incarceration to try to protect inmates and law enforcement from COVID-19.
- Anyone who owes taxes to the state now has longer to pay.
Virginia has 94 cases of coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, including 56 in Northern Virginia. The state's first case inside a long-term care facility for seniors was found in Falls Church. And the state has its first child with the virus, a Gloucester County resident.
A man who lives at The Kensington Falls Church was diagnosed. Officials didn’t immediately know how the virus got inside.
So far, tests have shown that none of the 109 other residents of the facility have the virus. Two employees were in isolation, awaiting results.
Coronavirus is particularly dangerous for people who live in such facilities, said Dr. Benjamin Schwartz, director of epidemiology for the Fairfax County Health Department.
“If one person in that setting gets infected, they can spread it to others who are also in that setting,” he said.
Kensington administrators declined interviews but said the facility had already limited visitors, per CDC guidelines. Residents were keeping in touch with loved ones via video calls.
A Recommendation Against Arrests
In an update Thursday, state officials called for alternatives to incarceration.
Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran asked police officers to issue summonses instead of making arrests, when public safety considerations allow. Judges and magistrates should consider alternatives to incarceration. And judges and prosecutors should consider modifying sentences, such as through the use of ankle monitors.
“Allow people to remain out and not incarcerated,” Moran said.
These measures are an effort to protect inmates, law enforcement and personnel, he said.
Help for Medicaid Patients and Anyone Who Owes Tax Dollars
People who use Medicaid will have no copays for services, enhanced telemedicine options and extended prescription refills, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
About 10,000 unemployment claims have been filed so far.
Individuals and businesses will get some leeway on paying taxes. The personal and corporate income tax payment deadline was extended to June 1. Businesses have until June 20 to pay sales taxes.
Changes at Day Care Centers
Also Thursday, child care centers in the state began to adjust to new guidelines. Some closed their doors. Some that stayed open faced criticism online.
Many essential workers in Northern Virginia need day care centers to stay open, said Emily King of LLE Education Group
“A lot of these schools, this school in particular, we serve a lot of first responders, nurses and doctors — a lot of government workers — that are essential. We know those people need to go to work right now to fight this virus.”
Officials said Wednesday that families who send their children to day care centers should expect big changes.
“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.
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, Northam had said the 10-person rule was only a recommendation. It now is required.
The Virginia Department of Health includes probable cases in its county-level data. For the state total NBC Washington is only including confirmed cases.
CORRECTION (March 20, 2020, 10:56 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this story listed an incorrect tax payment deadline.