RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond-Henrico Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula said the city was heading in the “right trajectory” in terms of coronavirus cases.
“We are now 31 straight days of decrease in case counts and 24 straight days of decrease in percent positivity,” Dr. Avula said at Richmond's weekly COVID-19 update inside City Hall on Wednesday.
There are 4,674 positive cases reported in the city, while 61 Richmond residents have died due to the virus.
“Now is not the time to stop taking precautionary measures. If not for yourself - the more at-risk members of the community,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said.
COVID and Richmond Restaurants
The city’s health department temporarily suspended the permits of seven restaurants for violating COVID-19 guidelines. Avula said the main complaints were primarily for neglecting to follow Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Order mandating mask wearing indoors.
“We continue to see restaurants serving from right at the bar. People would come up from their table and go to the bar. So, that was a common occurrence,” Avula explained. “The third one was not enforcing the physical distancing between groups.”
COVID and Spanish-speaking communities
Mayor Stoney also announced plans to target Spanish-speaking communities through an educational mask-wearing campaign. He said field reports and observations indicated that some are not wearing face masks because of cultural reasons.
“Themes coming out of that research: misinformation about COVID-19 caused by mistrust in government, less access to medical care, and lack of Spanish language public health resources," he said.
COVID and Halloween in Richmond
City leaders also addressed concerns about trick-or-treating events around Halloween. Some neighborhoods like Hanover Avenue in the Fan District canceled the popular yearly Halloween celebration due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Trick or treating is not canceled, but my best recommendation is you stay home,” Stoney said. “There are innovative creative ways you can celebrate Halloween without knocking on other peoples' doors.”
He encouraged families to host virtual costume contests on Zoom.
Free Flu Shots
The city will offer free flu vaccinations and masks to families who live in the Southwood Apartments off Hull Street Road on Friday from 4 p.m. through 6 p.m.
Avula urged people to continue wearing face coverings around others, social distancing, hand washing, and avoid large crowds.