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Phase 3 guidelines outlined, won’t start until at least next week in VA

Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 8:31 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 18, 2020 at 5:05 PM EDT
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Governor Northam outlined in his Thursday briefing what Phase 3 of reopening the state’s economy will look like, but he says the earliest that will happen is Friday, June 26. You can see Northam’s briefing here.

“Our Phase Three guidelines will help Virginia families and businesses plan for what the next stage of easing public health restrictions will look like in our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “While we may not have the same spike in infections that many states are seeing right now, Virginians need to remain cautious and do the things that we know reduce transmission: wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, and stay home if you are high-risk or experience COVID-19 symptoms. This virus is still with us, and we must continue to adapt our lives around it and ensure we are keeping our vulnerable communities safe.”

In Phase Three, Northam said the Commonwealth will maintain a Safer at Home strategy with continued recommendations for social distancing and teleworking, and the requirement that individuals wear face coverings in indoor public settings. The maximum number of people allowed in social gatherings will increase from 50 to 250 people. All businesses should continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, frequently clean and sanitize high contact surfaces, and keep enhanced workplace safety measures in place, said Northam.

Restaurant and beverage establishments are required to maintain six feet of distance between tables, fitness centers may open indoor areas at 75 percent occupancy, and recreation and entertainment venues at may operate at 50 percent occupancy, or a maximum of 1,000 people. Swimming pools may also expand operations to free swim in addition to indoor and outdoor exercise, diving, and swim instruction. Overnight summer camps will remain closed in Phase Three.

Phase Three guidelines for specific sectors can be found here.

View the slides from Thursday’s presentation here.

Northam said Latino Virginians make up 45.3 percent of the cases for which Virginia has demographic data, and 35 percent of hospitalizations, even though Hispanic and Latino people make up about 10 percent of the Commonwealth’s population.

As many states are experiencing a surge in new infections, Virginia’s case counts continue to trend downward. Virginia’s hospital bed capacity remains stable, the percentage of people hospitalized with a positive or pending COVID-19 test is trending downward, no hospitals are reporting PPE shortages, and the percent of positive tests continues to decline as testing increases, according to Northam.

The Virginia Department of Health is reporting 56,238 cases of coronavirus in the commonwealth as of Thursday morning.

That's up from 55,775 cases reported Wednesday, a 463-case increase. 2,469 of the cases are reported as "probable."

There are 1,586 recorded coronavirus-related deaths in the commonwealth, up from 1,583 reported Wednesday, and 5,744 people have been hospitalized. 499,599 PCR tests have been conducted, with a 7.2 percent positive rate over the last week.

Any new confirmed cases from health departments throughout the state the rest of the day won’t show up until at least the following day on the state list, as the official numbers are only updated once a day, with a 5 p.m. cutoff each day for new cases to be reflected on the next day’s list.

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