Virginia delays Phase Three reopening; NET sees 6 new COVID-19 cases

Mike Still • Jun 17, 2020 at 8:30 AM

Virginia will delay Phase Three of its business and public facility reopening although COVID-19 case trends in the state are favorable.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced the delay Tuesday during his regular biweekly pandemic update press conference, citing concerns about COVID-19 case spikes in other states. Northam said that Virginia has seen positive trends in its pandemic measures, including a drop in the positivity rate in testing to 7.4% last week, while daily numbers of tests have increased on a seven-day rolling average and COVID-19 hospitalization rates have also dropped.

Most of the commonwealth has been in Phase Two of the Forward Virginia reopening plan for about two weeks, which includes allowances for indoor dining and the opening of non-essential retail businesses at reduced capacity. The wearing of face masks in businesses and indoor public facilities has also been mandatory in most cases.

In Southwest Virginia, the LENOWISCO Health District stayed at 46 cases and four deaths Tuesday, according to the Virginia Department of Health (www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus). Lee County remained at nine cases and no deaths, with Wise County at 27 cases and two deaths. Scott County held steady at eight cases and two deaths and Norton stood at two cases and no deaths.

In the neighboring Cumberland Plateau Health District, Dickenson County — which had remained free of COVID-19 cases since Northam declared a health emergency on March 13 — reported its first confirmed case in Tuesday’s data. That leaves Bland and Bath counties as the only COVID-19 case-free localities among Virginia’s 95 counties and 38 cities.

Statewide, Virginia reported a pandemic total of 54,886 cases and 1,552 deaths Monday — increases of 380 and six, respectively. The statewide testing rate for people with nasal swab and blood tests was 530,432 of 8.63 million state residents, or 6.15%. For nasal swab testing only, 476,573 people or 5.52% have been tested to date.

In the LENOWISCO district, according to Monday’s online data, 2,976 of 86,471 residents have been tested via nasal swab sample for COVID-19, or 3.44%.

Testing rates by locality were:

— Lee County, 584 of 23,423 residents or 2.49%

— Norton, 353 of 3,981 or 8.87%

— Wise County, 1,264 of 37,383 or 3.38%

— Scott County, 777 of 21,566 or 3.6%

Northeast Tennessee saw six new COVID-19 cases in Tuesday’s Tennessee Department of Health reports, while one county’s case total was reduced by one.

According to the TDH’s tracking webpage (www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov), Washington County’s pandemic total rose by one to 91 cases and no deaths. Neighboring Unicoi County saw its case total adjusted down by one to 52 and no deaths.

Hawkins County’s pandemic total rose by one case to 35, with the two-death total unchanged. Carter County’s case total climbed by two to 22, with no changes in the pandemic death toll of one. Greene County gained two new cases for 55 and two deaths to date.

Sullivan County’s totals remained unchanged at 70 and two deaths, while Johnson County remained at 25 cases and no deaths.

Statewide, Tennessee reported 31,680 cases and 493 deaths — increases of 670 and 10, respectively.

The TDH reported 638,772 total PCR swab tests Tuesday, or 9.35% of the state’s 6.83 million population. Positive results made up 36,995 of the total and negative results 601,777.

The county testing rates in Northeast Tennessee on Tuesday were:

— Hawkins, 2,518 (48 positive, 2,470 negative) of 56,786 residents or 4.43%

— Sullivan, 5,857 (73 positive, 5,784 negative) of 158,348 or 3.76%

— Washington, 5,362 (116 positive, 5,246 negative) of 129,375 or 4.15%

— Johnson, 2,341 (26 positive, 2,315 negative) of 17,788 or 13.16%

— Carter, 2,299 (25 positive, 2,264 negative) of 56,391 or 4.08%

— Greene, 3,167 (62 positive, 3,105 negative) of 69,069 or 4.59%

— Unicoi, 1,158 (57 positive, 1,101 negative) of 17,883 or 6.48%

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