RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam declared Sunday as a day of prayer and remembrance to honor the Virginians who died of COVID-19 as the state marks a grim milestone: more than 10,000 deaths in the Commonwealth are linked to COVID-19.
“Sunday marks one year since we first learned that a Virginian had died from COVID-19 in our Commonwealth,” Northam said in a statement. “Since then, more than [10,000] of our fellow Virginians have lost their lives to this disease, leaving behind families, friends, colleagues, and neighbors of all races, religions, and backgrounds. And while we cannot bring them back, we can honor their memories -- and prevent more grief and loss -- by working together to keep each other safe.”
Northam ordered Virginia flags to be flown at half-staff on all state and local buildings and grounds Sunday.
The Executive Mansion will be illuminated in red to honor victims from Sunday, March 14 through Sunday, March 21, according to officials.
“As we mourn, the First Lady and I are calling all Virginians to join us in prayer and remembrance of those who have been lost on Sunday,”
Northam's statement continued. “One year into this pandemic, we are seeing an ever-brighter light at the end of a long tunnel, and we can be hopeful that better days are ahead. While so much has changed over the past year, Virginians have continued to show strength and resilience, stepping up during this time of great need. We owe it to the victims of this virus and their loved ones to continue doing our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 until this pandemic is behind us.”
Additionally, Northam administration officials said they are in the process of creating a website where Virginians can share the names and stories of their loved ones who have died of COVID-19.
Del. Delores McQuinn also introduced a resolution during the 2021 General Assembly session designating March 14, in 2021 and in each succeeding year, as Victims of COVID-19 Remembrance Day in Virginia.
The proclamation comes as the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported Sunday 10,019 deaths are now linked to the virus. That includes 8,381 confirmed and 1,638 probable deaths.
Men accounted for 5,162 of the passings while women accounted for 4,816 them, according to the health department. No gender was reported for 41 of those deaths.
The deaths break down to the following age groups:
- Ages 80+: 4,875
- Ages 70-79: 2,588
- Ages 60-69: 1,592
- Ages 50-59: 661
- Ages 40-49: 189
- Ages 30-39: 75
- Ages 10-19: 17
- Ages 20-29: 2
- Ages 0-9: 1
No age was reported for 19 of the deaths.
The milestone came on the one year anniversary of the state’s first death, which happened exactly one week after the state reported its first case of the virus in 2020.
That first victim was a James City County man in his 70s who died of respiratory failure as a result of the virus, according to health department officials.
"The patient acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source," VDH officials said at the time.
More than 2,650,100 deaths are blamed on the virus globally. That includes more than 534,000 deaths in the U.S. Brazil follows with 277,000+, Mexico with 194,400+, India with 158,000+ and the UK with 125,000+ deaths.