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COVID-19 in Virginia: LIVE updates for Saturday, February 20

Posted at 10:00 AM, Feb 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-20 18:20:49-05

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: 561,812 (+1,822 from Friday)
People Hospitalized Since Start of Pandemic: 23,436 (+67 from Friday)
COVID-19-Linked Deaths Since Start of Pandemic: 7,197 (+99 from Friday)

Total Tests: 7,242,800 (+38,143 from Friday)
All Health Districts Current 7-Day Positivity Rate Total: 8.0% (Down from 8.2% on Friday)

People Vaccinated with at least One Dose: 1,101,433 (+8,634 from Friday)
People Fully Vaccinated: 440,339 (+19,765 from Friday)

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

VDH launches new statewide sign-up system
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched a statewide registration system for eligible citizens to pre-register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Read more.

140 additional COVID-19 patients discharged in Virginia; hospitalizations tick down
More than 140 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: 9 new outbreaks reported Saturday
Health officials are investigating 2,543 outbreaks of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data released Saturday. More than 62,100 COVID-19 cases are associated with outbreaks.
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.

Woman desperate to visit 92-year-old mother 'frustrated' by CVS vaccine sign-up website
Virginians are truly desperate to get COVID-19 shots, and with just 26,000 doses coming in a week to CVS, the first round covers less than one percent of our current vaccine eligible population who has not already received a shot.
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.

Chesterfield hopes this COVID-19 vaccine rollout change eases your mind
The county's IT teams got access to the district's COVID-19 vaccine interest forms this week, according to Chesterfield County's Chief Information Officer for Information Systems Technology Barry Condrey.
Read more.

The plan to get COVID-19 vaccine to people in independent-living facilities
The program, now in its second week, is using a mobile vaccination unit to visit estimated 50-such facilities.
Read more.

Virginia's COVID-19 vaccine czar on what went wrong with CVS rollout
From the moment Governor Ralph Northam brought in Dr. Danny Avula to run Virginia's vaccine distribution, Avula has stressed making the process fair and equitable, but on Tuesday morning, his efforts were no match for a disjointed vaccine rollout involving the federal government and states.
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.

'I've never been so happy to get a shot in all my life,' says 84-year-old Virginia woman
Saturday's mass vaccination event was the largest clinic held yet in Henrico with more than 5,000 seniors projected to have been vaccinated.
Read more.

Pharmacies wait for COVID-19 vaccines: ‘We definitely could do more’
For the past five weeks, Bremo Pharmacy and its employees have vaccinated hundreds of people in Central Virginia.
Bremo is one of three locally-owned pharmacies that have partnered with the Richmond-Henrico Health District to reach more people eligible for a vaccine under Phases 1A and 1B.
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.

Vaccination clinic opens in former Hanover grocery store
A COVID-19 vaccination clinic opened Friday in the former Food Lion store in the Ashland Junction Shopping Center in Hanover County.
Read more.

Senior center worker gets 2nd shot to honor sister who died of COVID: 'I finally did it'
Residents and team members at the Hermitage Richmond long-term care facility received their second and final dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Friday, just three weeks after receiving their first dose.
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.

Officials frustrated by Crater Health District vaccine rollout: 'We're requesting more vaccines'
The Crater Health District released more information Thursday about its transition into Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout as local governments within that health district have been expressing frustration about the lack of information.
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.

Biden administration purchases 200 million more doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines
President Joe Biden says that a minimum of 10 million shots will be administered per week moving forward, an increase of 17%, as states and regions have been forced to close mass vaccination sites due to strained supply.
Read more.

Chesterfield launches tool to help residents pre-register for COVID-19 vaccine
While the tool does not reserve a vaccine, it does collect contact information, so the Virginia Department of Health can contact residents to make an appointment once the vaccine is available.
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.

Richmond and Henrico Health Districts to receive just 6,400 weekly vaccine doses for foreseeable future
Barring an unforeseen change, Henrico and Richmond Health District officials will receive only about 6,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week for the foreseeable future – about a quarter of the doses the districts requested. 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.

Virginia lags in reporting vaccine race and ethnicity data
Virginia is lagging behind when it comes to tracking COVID-19 vaccinations by race and ethnicity compared to other states, according to public health data. 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.

Virginia health official says no vaccines have gone to waste
A top health official said Thursday that he's confident no COVID-19 vaccine doses have gone to waste in Virginia, despite mounting criticism over the state's sluggish inoculation rate and questions about where shots have been distributed.
Read more.

Virginia vaccine shortage may not improve until March: 'We're going to have to be patient'
We're going to have to be patient, as we get through 1B, we're going to work really hard to focus on our most vulnerable -- the elderly and those with underlying conditions," Dr. Danny Avula, the Richmond-Henrico Health Director tasked with managing statewide vaccination rollout, said. "And, as well, at the same time, ensure that we create opportunities for folks in that essential worker/1B to get vaccinated. But, given the supply demands we're facing it is going to be a couple of months."
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.

Chesterfield unveils timeline for 'monumental effort' to vaccinate teachers, school staffers
Teachers and staffers at Chesterfield County Public Schools could begin receiving their COVID-19 vaccinations as early as next week, district leaders posted on Facebook Saturday evening.
Read more.

'Roadblock' blamed for Virginia's lagging COVID-19 vaccination rollout
Health leaders, responding to criticism about the speed of the state’s vaccination rollout, said Saturday they are hitting a "roadblock" with the number of doses they are receiving from the federal government. Read more.

Richmond residents sign up for utility relief program: 'It’s a God gift from heaven'
The Richmond Department of Public Utilities is offering utility relief for those who fell on hardship due to COVID-19. DPU representatives were on site at The Market on N. 25th St. Friday to hand out and accept applications. 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.

'Mass vaccination centers’ planned in Virginia to reach 50,000 shots daily goal
The doctor in charge of Virginia's vaccine rollout plan said mass vaccination centers are in the works as Gov. Ralph Northam revealed Thursday that nearly half of all Virginians will soon be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine .Read more.

Biden unveils $1.9T plan to 'beat' the coronavirus and steady economy
President-elect Joe Biden released initial details of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan that aims to stem the surging pandemic, speed up vaccinations and provide further financial help to Americans, as well as local governments and businesses dealing with almost a year of economic declines. 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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LATEST COVID-19 U.S. AND WORLDWIDE STATS