State leaders were quiet over the weekend, publishing few comments on the unfolding COVID-19 numbers that continue to climb around Virginia.
Throughout the state, numbers have ballooned with more than 10,600 tests completed and a total of 890 cases of COVID-19 confirmed. The virus has hospitalized 112 people and killed 22.
According to a graph on the Virginia Department of Health coronavirus page, the number of COVID-19 cases spiked on March 17 when 99 new confirmations came in. The number of confirmed cases has begun to fall but some that began March 21 or later may have yet to be confirmed or tested.
Early reporting suggested that people 65 years old and older were at the highest risk for contracting and suffering the worst effects of COVID-19. However, with a full month’s worth of data, the VDH figures show that the disease is evenly spread out between most age groups.
In percentage terms, the 50 to 59 age group has suffered the most, representing 17.8% of cases but typically healthy 20 to 29-year-olds are not far behind, making up 15.2% of the reported cases.
Virginians 50 and older make up 455 of the 890 cases. The VDH is not reporting on the profiles of the people who have died from the virus.
While the virus has forced people to stay in their homes, Gov. Ralph Northam is reminding everyone that the rest of life is continuing, albeit in an awkward fashion.
The U.S. government is conducting its census this year and Northam asked all Virginians not to forget that they, for the first time, can fill out their census information online. States rely on accurate census data as it tells the federal government how much money each state will receive for various programs.
“Though many Virginians are focused on COVID-19, it is still crucial that everyone takes time to complete the 2020 Census, which can be done quickly and easily online,” Northam stated in a press release. “Counting every person in the Commonwealth will ensure that we receive our portion of the more than $675 billion in federal funding that will be allocated to states for important programs, from Medicaid to school breakfasts.”
Census cards with information on how to complete the forms online, by mail or by phone started appearing in mailboxes earlier this month. On Friday, Northam announced the beginning of a statewide “virtual week of action” that runs through Census day on April 1.
Every day this week has a separate focus on encouraging Virginians to participate in the census.
Monday is dedicated to using social media to learn about the census. Northam’s office is billing it as a way to “get social” in a time where society is forced to keep others at more than an arm’s length.
On Tuesday the administration is asking people to pledge they will participate in the census by texting a number established for their locality.
Northam will be providing updates on the state of Virginia during the COVID-19 crisis today at 2 p.m. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the governor is hosting a press conference every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to update the commonwealth on actions the administration is taking to deal with the pandemic.