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COVID-19 in Virginia: LIVE updates for Saturday, January 16

Posted at 9:23 AM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 18:58:36-05

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: 429,391 (Up 6,757 from Friday)
People Hospitalized Since Start of Pandemic: 19,846 (Up 105 from Friday)
COVID-19-Linked Deaths Since Start of Pandemic: 5,706 (Up 50 from Friday)
Total Tests: 5,815,263 (Up 51,470 from Friday)
All Health Districts Current 7-Day Positivity Rate Total: 14.1% (Down from 14.6% Friday)
People Vaccinated with at least One Dose: 263,143 (Up 25,288 since Friday)
People Fully Vaccinated: 32,059 (Up 1,584 since 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

Health departments in Virginia share COVID-19 vaccine rollout details
Health departments across Virginia are releasing more details about how the COVID-19 vaccine will be administered as more Virginians become eligible for the shots next week. 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.

Nearly 800 additional COVID-19 patients discharged in Virginia; hospitalizations tick down
Nearly 800 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.

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.

Walgreens expanding free rapid antigen tests across Virginia
The Virginia Department of Health is expanding its partnership with Walgreens to offer free rapid COVID-19 testing across the Commonwealth. Read more.

Richmond, Henrico to begin vaccinating frontline workers in Phase 1b
The Richmond and Henrico region was set to move into Phase 1b of their vaccination process Monday, according to health leaders — meaning frontline workers and those 75 and older were eligible to get the COVID vaccine. Read more.

Some simple ideas to help manage the pressure during sometimes unmanageable days
The COVID-19 pandemic and other current events have applied a lot of pressure on people. For some, that pressure has led to uncharacteristic or even downright dangerous behavior. Read more.

VCU medical students can now receive COVID-19 vaccine
Beginning Tuesday, VCU says medical students who have direct contact with patients can now receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The university says the next phase of their vaccine rollout plan comes after more than 8,600 health care workers were vaccinated over the course of four weeks. Read more.

VEA calls on schools to go all-virtual until staff are vaccinated
As coronavirus cases continue to surge in the Commonwealth, the Virginia Education Association president is calling for all public schools to move to all-virtual instruction until staff members have been vaccinated. Read more.

Find out when you can get your COVID-19 vaccine
As doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being distributed to health care workers and those who live and work in long term care facilities, you might be wondering when you will be eligible for a vaccination. Read more.

How Richmond pharmacy owner plans to allay COVID-19 vaccine 'skepticism'
Greeting customers with a smile underneath her mask and helping people get the food they need has been Shaaron Atkins-Comfort's mission throughout the pandemic. Read more.

GRTC employee dies 23 days after positive COVID test
A GRTC employee who tested positive for COVID-19 on December 17 and was hospitalized on December 22 has died as a result of the virus, according to the transit company. Read more.

Hundreds of PPE kits now available for small Richmond businesses
City of Richmond planned to hand out 500 PPE kits to Richmond businesses Monday and Thursday. Read more.

Dr. Fauci hopes April will be 'open season' for COVID-19 vaccinations
Virginia health officials joined one of the nation’s top disease experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, for a virtual panel discussing COVID-19 and the vaccination efforts. Read more.

COVID-19 vaccinations for Virginia police, firefighters, teachers begin this week
Some local health departments across Virginia will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines for limited portions of the general public as the state begins to move into its second phase of vaccine distribution. Read more.

Virginia banks prepare for 2nd round of PPP loans
Virginia’s banks, big and small, are preparing to provide loans from the federal government’s $284 billion set aside for the subsidized Paycheck Protection Program small business loans. Read more.

Northam outlines plan, 25K goal for COVID-19 vaccination initiative
Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia is aiming to eventually vaccinate 25,000 people per day as the state's vaccination efforts enters a third week. Northam and other health officials outlined where Virginia stands with the vaccination effort, where improvements are needed, and gave us a better look at who comes next. Read more.

City offering Richmond small business owners PPE supply kits
“Richmond’s small businesses have prioritized staff and customer health and safety throughout the pandemic,” Mayor Stoney said. “I hope the ongoing support from my administration, whether in the form of PPE kits or recovery grants, shows them just how important they are to this city.” Read more.

How you can send Valentine’s cards to long-term care residents in Henrico
Henrico County is calling on the community to showcase their creative skills and make homemade Valentine’s Day cards for the Spread the Love initiative. Read more.

Health officials explain why Virginia's vaccine numbers are lagging behind
VDH’s Deputy Commissioner of Population Health Dr. Laurie Forlano said there will “likely always” be a gap between those two figures on the website for a number of reasons. Read more.

Infectious disease expert: COVID cases expected to rise in 'alarming fashion' in coming weeks
Health professionals warned of a post-holiday spike in COVID-19 infections, and Virginia has surpassed more than 5,000 new cases per day three out of the last five days after never reaching that mark previously. Read more

Free COVID testing offered in Richmond, Henrico this week as cases rise
The Richmond City and Henrico County Health Districts is offering free COVID-19 testing Tuesday, just one of several testing events planned for the week. Read more

180+ additional COVID-19 patients discharged in Virginia; hospitalizations drop
More than 180 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.

No new COVID-19 outbreaks reported Sunday
Health officials are investigating 1,973 outbreaks of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data. More than 45,400 cases in the Commonwealth are linked to outbreaks. Read more.

US virus death toll hits 350,000; surge feared
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. passed the threshold early Sunday morning. More than 20 million people in the country have been infected. The U.S. has begun using two coronavirus vaccines to protect health care workers and nursing home residents and staff but the rollout of the inoculation program has been criticized as being slow and chaotic. Read more.

Virginia nurse 'helping others get better' dies from COVID-19 on New Year's
The family of Virginia nurse Syvie Robertson said she died from complications related to COVID-19 early New Year's Day. Robertson’s family is opening up about their unexpected loss in hopes that people not taking the pandemic seriously will change course. Read more.

ODU to hold remote classes for first 2 weeks of spring semester
Old Dominion University will hold classes remotely for the first two weeks of the spring semester due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.

Virginia State Senator Ben Chafin dies from COVID-19 complications
Virginia State Sen. Ben Chafin (R-Lebanon) has died from complications from COVID-19, the senator’s office confirmed Friday night. Read more.

Henrico School's Health Committee to review COVID data, discuss in-person reopening
The Henrico County Public School's Health Committee will meet Monday to discuss when students should return to in-person learning. Read more.

Where to get a free COVID-19 test in Chesterfield
The Chesterfield Health Department is hosting another round of free COVID-19 testing events in January in hopes of curtailing the spread of the virus. Read more.

Where to get a free COVID-19 test in Richmond, Henrico
Three COVID-19 community testing events have been scheduled for the week of January 4 in the City of Richmond and Henrico County. Read more.

U.S. surpasses 20 million coronavirus cases at start of 2021
America exceeded the mark Friday, less than a week after the country reached 19 million cases. COVID-19 deaths have also increased in the country, now totaling more than 346,000. Read more.

VCU Health responds to why some non-frontline workers are receiving COVID-19 vaccine
After a few WTVR CBS 6 viewers reached out asking why some employees at VCU Health System who are not frontline workers in daily direct contact with COVID-19 patients received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, we investigated who is currently eligible to receive the vaccine, and found out they do qualify. Read more.

New Year's Eve could be 'perfect storm' for spreading COVID-19, area health experts warn
Local health leaders are warning Central Virginians that a typical New Year's Eve celebration is a “perfect storm” for spreading COVID-19, at a time when cases and hospitalizations are spiking. On the final day of 2020, more than 5,200 new cases were reported statewide and the Commonwealth reached 5,000 virus-related deaths. Read more.

New Year's Eve goes virtual; CDC offers ideas and guidance
The CDC has guidance for Americans to celebrate safely, and include ideas like virtual concerts, having dinner over video chat, or having a dance party with the people in the house. Read more.

Woman 'waiting and praying' gets vaccinated at Virginia long-term care facility
"I've been in solitary confinement in this room," 94-year-old Marjorie Adams said via a Zoom call from her room on Wednesday afternoon. "We had to be isolated, I appreciate all that I know." Read more.

Nurses split on COVID-19 vaccine: 'It may make me change my career'
Healthcare personnel and long-term care residents are listed under Phase 1a in the Virginia COVID-19 Vaccination Prioritization Guidance. Although they take priority right now, not everyone is willing to roll up their sleeve. Read more.

COVID-19 variant found in California, health officials say
The variant is no more dangerous than the original virus, but is more easily transmitted, according to experts. Read more.

Microbiologists say it's not really necessary to constantly disinfect surfaces
“You actually go into hospitals where they're treating COVID-19 patients and you check the surfaces, and there's no infectious virus, none,” said Dr. Emanuel Goldman, a microbiology professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Read more.

COVID concerns kept her from returning to work, now her unemployment benefits have stopped
There are approximately 10,000 people who have refused to go back to work due to concerns about COVID-19 who are currently waiting for the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to make a determination about whether or not they should receive benefits. Among them, a Virginia woman who works at a grocery store and is over the age of 80. Read more.

Virginia hospital workers strained due to post-holiday spike in COVID cases
Just days after some families and friends gather for Christmas, Dr. David Lanning, VCU Medical Center Interim Chief Medical Officer, said they are seeing a post-holiday spike in coronavirus cases. Read more.

Long-term care facilities in Virginia begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine
Virginia’s COVID-19 vaccination program expanded this week as residents and staff of long-term care and assisted living facilities started to receive the vaccine on Monday. Read more.

RVA health officials urge those who gathered for holidays to get tested
The data from holidays during the pandemic are clear, according to health officials: local COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spike following holidays where families and friends gather in large numbers. With the expected rise in cases, health professionals are urging anyone who traveled or extended their immediate social circle during Christmas and into New Years to get a COVID test as soon as possible. Read more.

RVA business owners react to COVID-19 relief package
As millions of Americans lost their unemployment benefits over the weekend, President Trump signed a second coronavirus stimulus bill into law to help the struggling economy. Read more.

Free drive-thru 'large-scale' COVID testing Tuesday at the Diamond
The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts plans to hold a free drive-thru COVID-19 community testing event at the Diamond on Tuesday. The "large-scale" event is set to last from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. at 3001 N Arthur Ashe Boulevard. Read more.

Fauci says worst is probably still ahead; 80-85% needed for herd immunity
Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country is at a critical place during the pandemic, and that the worst is probably still ahead. Despite warnings about traveling and getting together with people outside a household, Fauci feared another surge on top of the current surge following the Christmas holiday. Read more.

US to require travelers from UK to post negative COVID-19 test
The United States is going to require airline travelers from Britain to get a negative COVID-19 test first. Read more.

Number of global COVID-19 cases tops 80 million
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University reported the mark Saturday morning after 472,000 cases were recorded Christmas Day. The number of deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic across the globe stands at 1.75 million. Read more.

As Virginia sets new COVID infection record, ER doc says holidays will test Virginians
A Central Virginia emergency room physician has issued a warning ahead of Christmas and New Year's Eve following a surge of coronavirus cases after Thanksgiving. Read more.

Study: COVID-19 antibodies may protect from reinfection for 6 months
A recent study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that antibodies might protect people who've already had COVID-19 from being reinfected for at least six months. Read more.

CDC gives 'OK' to begin giving Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given the green light to begin administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Americans age 18 and older. Inoculations using Moderna’s version of the vaccine could begin Monday morning. Read more.

20 COVID-19 outbreaks reported in Virginia Sunday
Health officials are investigating 1,810 outbreaks of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, according to Virginia Department of Health (VDH) data. More than 41,200 cases in the Commonwealth are linked to outbreaks. Read more.CDC advisory panel recommends older Americans, essential workers to be next in line for vaccine
This second wave of people comes after the first tier of health care workers and long-term care facility residents that was agreed to by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices earlier this month should get the first of the vaccine shots that started last week. Read more.

2nd COVID-19 vaccine authorized in US ships out
Initial shipments of the second COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the U.S. have left a factory as the nation works to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. Read more.

6 severe allergy cases from more than 250K shots
The half-dozen cases of allergic reaction were reported as of Friday night, and included one person with a history of vaccination reactions. Read more.

General sorry for 'miscommunication' over vaccine shipments
An Army general in charge of COVID-19 vaccines apologized Saturday for “miscommunication” with states on the number of early doses delivered. Read more.

US clears second COVID-19 vaccine, adding Moderna shots to the fight against a worsening pandemic
Moderna’s vaccine has been hailed as a medical breakthrough. The vaccine has been considered 94.1% effective against the virus. Read more.

Virginia to initially receive fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses than anticipated
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Friday that it will receive fewer doses of COVID-19 vaccines than anticipated by the end of the year. Read more.

Governor donates plasma to help those struggling with COVID-19
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam donated his plasma Friday. As a COVID survivor, the governor's plasma contains COVID-19 antibodies that could help treat others with the virus. Read more.

Maryland, Virginia donate vaccine doses to Washington, DC
D.C. health officials have complained for weeks that the initial allotment formula followed by the Centers for Diseason Control and Prevention provided Washington with just under 7,000 doses — less than one-tenth of what would be needed for local health care workers. Read more.

US surpasses 17 million COVID-19 cases, records 1 million new cases in less than week
The country is averaging more than 200,000 new cases of the virus every day, putting it on pace to record 1 million cases every five days, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Read more.

Claims for unemployment rise again as virus spread increases
The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose again last week to 885,000 as a resurgence of coronavirus cases threatens the economy’s recovery from its springtime collapse. Read more.

COVID vaccine arrives at VCU: 'I miss my family, I miss my mom'
Healthcare workers at VCU Medical Center rolled up their sleeves Wednesday to get their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Read more.

State addresses COVID vaccine concerns from Black Virginians
Hundreds of people gathered on a Zoom call Tuesday night to learn more about how Virginia health leaders will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in the Black community. Read more.

Virginia's healthcare workers start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations
Healthcare workers in Virginia started receiving the state's first doses of a coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday, kicking off what is likely to be a months long process of inoculating people from the potentially deadly disease. Read more.

First Americans to receive initial doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday
Following Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA and a formal recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) over the weekend, the first Americans are slated to receive Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. Read more.

COVID-19 vaccine shipments begin in historic US effort
The first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use in the United States are headed from Michigan to distribution centers across the country. Read more.

Virginia senior keen to take COVID vaccine to 'feel safer' and 'not be so isolated'
Joan Kerby lives in the Lakewood Retirement Community in Henrico, and hopes to get vaccinated soon.
"I would feel safer if I went into a grocery store, safer buying gas for the car, being out among people," she said. Read more.

Northam: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine could arrive in 'next 24 to 48 hours'
Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia plans to "immediately begin" distributing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine once it arrives in the Commonwealth over the "next 24 to 48 hours." Read more.

US preps for 1st Pfizer vaccine shipment after FDA approval
Initial doses are scarce and rationed as the U.S. joins Britain and several other countries in scrambling to vaccinate as many people as possible ahead of winter. Read more.

US leads world with 16 million cases of virus
Cases of the virus have been rising across much of the U.S., causing record death totals in recent days. Read more.

US allows emergency COVID-19 vaccine
The U.S. has given the final go-ahead to the nation’s first COVID-19 vaccine, launching emergency vaccinations in a bid to end the pandemic. Read more.

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