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COVID-19 in Virginia: LIVE updates for Monday, March 15

Posted at 10:33 AM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 10:33:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- In an effort to provide accurate, easy-to-read information on the on-going COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on our community, WTVR.com will update this post with the day's local coronavirus headlines and statistics.

COVID-19 IN VIRGINIA (Scroll to bottom for U.S. stats)

Positive COVID-19 Cases Since Start of Pandemic: 595,865 (+1,130 from Sunday)
People Hospitalized Since Start of Pandemic: 25,323 (+26 from Sunday)
COVID-19-Linked Deaths Since Start of Pandemic: 10,060 (+41 from Sunday)

Total Tests: 7,944,508 (+18,281 from Sunday)
All Health Districts Current 7-Day Positivity Rate Total: 6.0% (Same as Sunday)

People Vaccinated with at least One Dose: 1,796,749 (+83,027 from Sunday)
People Fully Vaccinated: 1,010,519 (+35,682 from Sunday)
% of Population with at Least One Dose: 21.1% (Up from 20.1% Sunday)

Click here for complete city/county-by-county breakdown of COVID-19 cases in Virginia

NOTE: This data is provided from the Virginia Department of Health daily at 10 a.m. Officials said their cutoff for data is 5 p.m. the previous day. So your local health department may have issued an alert about a case before it is added to the statewide tally released the following day. Get the latest charts and updated numbers from VDH here. *

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 LOCAL HEADLINES

Virginia's statewide COVID-19 sign-up website
The Virginia Department of Health's statewide registration system allows citizens to pre-register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Read more.

COVID-19 vaccine czar: Parts of Virginia could move to phase 1c in 2 weeks
Virginia's vaccine coordinator said the Commonwealth should have no problem hitting President Joe Biden's target of offering the COVID-19 vaccine to everyone by May 1.
Read more.

50+ additional COVID-19 patients discharged in Virginia; hospitalizations tick down
More than 50 additional COVID-19 patients have been discharged from Virginia hospitals in the last 24 hours, according to data from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.
Read more.

COVID-19 in Virginia: 5 new outbreaks reported Saturday
Health officials are investigating 2,713 outbreaks of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data. More than 66,700 COVID-19 cases are associated with outbreaks.
Read more.

First case of South African COVID variant reported in Northern Virginia
The first case of the South African COVID-19 variant, known as B.1.351, has been confirmed in the Northern Region of the Commonwealth, Virginia Department of Health (VDH) officials announced Thursday. Read more.

Why most in Richmond Schools are not yet fully vaccinated
At least 40 percent of school staff across Virginia are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Governor Ralph Northam. But the number of staff members for Richmond Public Schools who are fully vaccinated does not even come close to that percentage.
Read more.

Richmond couple reflects year after COVID diagnosis
A Richmond couple who was among the first to go public with their positive COVID-19 diagnosis said they still experience lingering symptoms nearly a year later.
Read more:

Kroger mistakenly used empty syringes instead of COVID-19 vaccine at Midlothian store
Kroger is now clarifying a COVID-19 vaccine mishap that happened at one of its Central Virginia clinics where people were mistakenly injected with empty syringes.
Read more.

Physician says vaccinations help prevent spread of variants
As COVID variants pop up across Virginia, Rebekah Butterfield, an epidemiologist with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts, said vaccines and current practices will help stop the spread.
Read more.

Vaccination numbers rise, but Virginia still faces hestitance
Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia has already reached a goal of administering an average of 50,000 vaccine shots a day. And he said 1.5 million residents - or 18% of Virginians - have received at least one dose.
Read more.

Hampton University, Ashland company turn RVs into labs to deliver vaccine to underserved communities
An Ashland company is helping to get the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved communities by turning an RV into a mobile lab for Hampton University.
Read more.

COVID-related sickness found in child in Southside Health District
The Southside Health District has confirmed a case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19.
Read more.

More Richmond-area pharmacies, doctors offices are getting COVID vaccines
The Richmond and Henrico Health Departments are expanding who is administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The expansion comes after an increase in weekly shipments to the Commonwealth.
Read more.

Rent relief program no longer includes mortgage payments
A few weeks ago Virginia got a boost of more than $500 million in new federal stimulus funds for the rent relief program to help keep families in their homes during the pandemic.
Read more.

First Virginia child under 10 dies from COVID-19
The first child under the age of 10 in Virginia has died from complications from COVID-19, state health officials announced Thursday afternoon.
Read more.

CDC study: COVID-19 more prevalent in children than originally thought
A CDC-supported study of infection rates among children in Mississippi show the actual number of juvenile cases of COVID-19 may be much higher than first reported.
Read more.

What's safe to do after getting the COVID vaccine?
As COVID-19 cases fall and the number of people fully vaccinated rises, many wonder when the state and county will begin to roll back restrictions placed during the pandemic.Read more.

1.9 million Virginians signed up for COVIDWise app
The Virginia statewide notification system COVIDWise has been working for months to tell people if they've been exposed to COVID-19.
Read more.

Henrico-based researchers launch COVID-19 treatment study
Henrico Clinical Research Partners are studying safe treatments for COVID-19, and they're looking for participants for their research study.
Read more.

Fauci: States' decisions to lift mask mandates 'inexplicable,' 'ill-advised'
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases and President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser, criticized Texas and Mississippi for deciding to lift mask mandates earlier this week, calling the decision “inexplicable” and “ill-advised.”
Read more.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine gets FDA green light, 4 million doses expected to be shipped this week
The FDA gave an emergency use authorization of a one-shot coronavirus vaccine by Johnson & Johnson on Saturday, marking the third coronavirus shot allowed to be administered to Americans.
Read more.

Virginia to receive 69,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson's 1-shot vaccine next week
Officials with the Virginia Department of Health said the 69,000 doses of the J&J vaccine the Commonwealth is slated to receive will be "prioritized for mass vaccination clinics across the state."
Read more.

House Democrats approve $1.9 trillion stimulus bill
In a nearly party-line vote, House Democrats early Saturday morning approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic stimulus package, which will now move to the Senate.
Read more.

Which vaccine is best? Experts say it's not fair to compare J&J vaccine data to Pfizer, Moderna
As the U.S. begins distributing a third vaccine against COVID-19, health officials are girding for questions about which one is best.
Read more.

Virginia expects an increase in COVID-19 vaccine shipments
Virginia is getting another increase to its weekly shipment of COVID-19 next week, according to Virginia's vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula.
Read more.

How you can get a COVID-19 vaccine at Walgreens
Walgreens Pharmacy said that it will begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine at some of its stores in Virginia starting Feb. 24. Registration can be made either online or by calling 1-800-Walgreens.
Read more.

US extends restrictions on non-essential travel to Canada and Mexico
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed Friday that it was extending restrictions on non-essential to Canada and Mexico amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more.

VCU student creates self-cleaning mask that can kill COVID-19
"To have a mask that cleans itself sort of adds that kind of peace of mind," VCU student McKenzie Piper said.
Read more.

Despite study, Dr. Fauci says 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses still necessary
“When you're dealing with variants, you want enough of a height of a response that even if you diminish it, you don't diminish it so much to get out of the realm of protection, number one. “No. 2, if you do have a less-than-optimum response, you could theoretically and inadvertently be selecting immunologically for variants.”
Read more.

White House: Winter storm caused a 'backlog' of 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses
The White House COVID-19 response team said Friday that severe winter weather across the U.S. caused a "backlog" of 6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week.
Read more.

More than half of Virginia's prison population gets COVID-19 vaccination
The Virginia Department of Corrections (DOC) announced more than 50 percent of those people inside Virginia's prisons have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Read more.

Gov. Northam talks new COVID vaccine call center
Governor Ralph Northam held a news briefing Wednesday with his emergency support team to give an update on the Commonwealth's response to COVID-19 and vaccine roll-out.
Read more.

UVA researchers developing nasal COVID-19 vaccine
“There's no need for needles. We're working on a device that would actually spray it into your nose, similar to like an asthma inhaler where you inhale through your mouth.”
Read more.

New study: 7 variants found in U.S. with same mutation
A team of scientists are declaring that a total of seven coronavirus variants spotted around the United States are carrying the same mutation, as reported in a study published over the weekend.
Read more.

Fauci: Americans will need to continue to wear masks for 'several, several months'
The government’s top infectious disease expert said that by the time 75% to 80% of the population is vaccinated, “the level of virus in the community could be so low that you could start pulling back a bit on what are stringent public health measures.”
Read more.

CDC: People who have been fully vaccinated can skip COVID-19 quarantines if experiencing no symptoms
Anyone who has received a full dose of a COVID-19 vaccine does not need to follow the standard 14-day quarantine if they’re within three months of their vaccination and do not develop symptoms of the virus, according to the CDC.
Read more.

Study: 40% of COVID-19 deaths could have been prevented
The Lancet Commission on Public Policy and Health said public health measures such as wearing masks and social distancing could have saved lives.
Read more.

More than 20% of VMI cadets are in isolation or quarantine
The Virginia Military Institute has experienced a spike coronavirus in cases that has led more than 20% of its cadets to be in isolation or quarantine.
Read more.

CDC study: 2 masks and tighter fit could reduce COVID-19 exposure by up to 96%
Masks and facial coverings are required in most settings to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The CDC released new data Wednesday on how to improve mask fit that reduces a person’s exposure to the virus by as much as 96%.
Read more.

Here's what we know about COVID-19 vaccine at locally-owned pharmacies
The Virginia Department of Health is working on a state pharmacy program that will involve 100 pharmacies across the state that will receive COVID-19 vaccines, but that partnership has not been activated yet.
Read more.

Nationwide COVID-19 hospitalizations dip below 80,000 for first time since November
The White House COVID-19 response team held regular briefing on Wednesday as new cases and hospitalization tick downward, but the threat of variant strains of the virus continues to loom.
Read more.

Why Virginia lags in reporting race, ethnicity data for COVID-19 vaccinations
Health officials explain why Virginia lags in reporting race and ethnicity data related to the coronavirus vaccine, and how it affects the measuring of health equity.
Read more.

Why advocates say upping staff at nursing homes could save lives
During a COVID-19 outbreak at Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, officials said they had a staffing shortage that could've contributed to lives lost.
Read more.

Out-of-work Virginia man 'hasn't seen a cent' since December; VEC blames extension delay on feds
Governor Ralph Northam acknowledged the concerns at his press conference on Friday.
"I know some people still have not received these benefits, and they’re frustrated," Northam said.
Read more.

Governor: More people are getting vaccines, schools should reopen safely
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called on school systems across Virginia to be prepared to welcome students back to in-person learning. He set a March 15 deadline for school systems to announce in-person learning plans.
Read more.

CDC to release guidance on school reopenings
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday that the agency would release guidance on school reopenings sometime next week.
Read more.

First case of South African COVID variant detected in Virginia
The coronavirus variant identified in South Africa, which was first reported in the United States in late January, has now been detected in Virginia.
Read more.

Antibody trial seeks people recently exposed to COVID-19 who have not yet developed disease
A potentially powerful treatment for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 but have yet to develop symptoms is going through a clinical trial right here in Richmond.
Read more.

Richmond-area seniors anxiously wait for the phone call: ‘You can’t get the vaccine’
Thousands of people aged 75+ who filled out a COVID-19 vaccine interest form with their local health department will get vaccinated this coming weekend.
Read more.

Governor responds to COVID criticism: 'We realize that needs to be improved'
Responding to criticism surrounding the rough rollout of Virginia's COVID-19 vaccine program, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said a few things were happening, both in the short-term and long-term, to increase Virginia's weekly vaccine shipments.
Read more.

VCU Health adjusts its 2nd vaccine dose plan after a misunderstanding
VCU Health says they will not be releasing their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as requested by the state.
This comes after they released a letter to staff stating that they would release the vaccine doses.
Read more.

Epidemiologist: More contagious COVID-19 variant 'will be more common' in Virginia
There are certain settings in which the new variant of COVID-19, known as B.1.1.7, could increase your risk of contracting the coronavirus, according to a health expert with the Richmond and Henrico Health Districts.
Read more.

Frustration grows as Virginia's vaccine rollout continues to lag behind
From Henrico up to Stafford, Virginia residents over the age of 75 keep reaching out to CBS 6, upset about why they still cannot get a COVID-19 vaccine or even an appointment.
Read more.

Number of people getting vaccinated surpasses confirmed COVID-19 cases in Virginia
More than 497,000 people have now gotten a first dose of the vaccine, compared to more than 483,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic, although experts have long said the actual number of cases is higher than the number confirmed.
Read more.

Chesterfield leaders call Virginia’s COVID vaccine plan 'totally defective'
The Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors has called out Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and other state leaders for the unavailability of COVID-19 vaccine both across Virginia and within the county.
Read more.

Virginia reports its first case of more contagious COVID-19 variant
The first case of the COVID-19 variant called B.1.1.7 has been identified in Virginia, state health officials confirmed Monday. Read more.

Frustration grows as vaccine supply shrinks: 'You can't get a shot'
As some Virginians grow frustrated with their inability to get a COVID-19 vaccine, the Richmond and Henrico Health District held a briefing on Monday to discuss how they're handling the roll out, while shipments of the vaccine are expected to stay stagnant. Read more.

How schools are trying to prevent COVID-19 from spreading
As some students in Henrico and Chesterfield prepare for their eventual return to the classroom, a health expert said even with high caseloads, proper mitigation strategies are proving effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Read more.

Why Virginia is changing vaccine distribution approach
Virginia’s state vaccine coordinator said that the Virginia Department of Health will change how it allocates doses of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the on-going shortage of the vaccine and that if the supply does not increase, it could take between two to three months to finish vaccinating those eligible under Phase 1A and 1B of the rollout.
Read more.

Experts discuss how rollout of COVID-19 vaccines could be improved
Likely the biggest immediate challenge of the Biden administration is improving the vaccine rollout. His new COVID-19 team has said it aims to administer 100 million shots for 50 million Americans in the first 100 days of office. It’s a plan some are still challenging.
Read more.

Next phase begins: Where and when you can get your COVID-19 vaccination
The next phase of the vaccination rollout began, putting front line essential workers, teachers, people 65 and older, those living in correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and migrant labor camps next in line to receive the COVID 19 vaccine.
Also included in Phase 1b are people with underlying medical conditions, between the age of 16-64.
Read more.

Virginia breaks record with nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in single day
Officials with the Virginia Department of Health called Sunday's case counts "a complete and accurate picture of the daily numbers."
Read more.

Virginians urged to ‘be patient’ during COVID-19 rollout
Nearly half of all Virginians are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, but officials are imploring residents to be patient.
“That’s a major logistical effort and it’s not going to happen overnight,” Gov. Northam warned during his COVID-19 press conference on Thursday. Read more.

State unveils new guidelines: 'Schools need to be open'
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Thursday a path for more schools to reopen as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread throughout the community. Read more.

COVID-19 vaccine information for people in parts of rural Virginia
The Piedmont Health District announced it will begin Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on Tuesday. The district encompasses the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway, and Prince Edward. Read more.

VCU poll: Majority of Virginians say they are likely to receive COVID-19 vaccine
A majority of Virginians say they are very likely to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a new poll conducted by the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU. Read more.

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COMPLETE COVERAGE: COVID-19 HEADLINES (App users, click here for a complete list.)

LATEST COVID-19 U.S. AND WORLDWIDE STATS