Elective surgeries, dental procedures resuming in Virginia

Virginia

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VIRGINIA (WDVM) — Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia is gave his usual update for the commonwealth on coronavirus response efforts on Wednesday, April 29 at 2 p.m.

The last update on Monday began with Virginia’s response to virus spreading at meat processing plants. He continues in today’s update to state how protecting workers at these plants is a priority. Northam had said previously that a Centers for Disease Control team was requested and sent to evaluate the facilities on the eastern shore. They’re keeping an eye on the poultry processing plants in the Shenandoah Valley as well, the governor said.

Northam said hospitals are ready to safely begin resuming elective surgeries and dental procedures, after previously signing Public Health Order 2, temporarily prohibiting elective surgeries. This can start after the health order expires at midnight tomorrow.

Northam has previously postponed the special and general elections by two weeks, to May 19, 2020. Anyone voting absentee, which is recommended by Northam, must request their absentee ballot by May 12. More information can be searched for on the Virginia elections website.

Watch Northam’s full update for April 29 here:

Latest case data

Virginia is now up to 14,961 confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide, according to the state health department’s latest numbers as of 10 a.m. on April 29. The highest concentration of cases continues to remain in northern Virginia counties. Fairfax County is now up to 3,448 cases, and has had the highest case count statewide for weeks now. A total of 522 COVID-19 patients throughout the commonwealth of Virginia have died. Check the data on your local area here.

Early release of people held in Virginia prisons

The Virginia General Assembly approved a budget amendment giving the Virginia Department of Corrections unprecedented authority to release inmates with less than a year left to serve to free up space in tightly packed facilities, Jackie DeFusco reports. Specific criteria published by VADOC applies, such as: “Early release does not apply to inmates convicted of a Class 1 felony or sexually violent offense.” More on this story here.

Protection for health care workers

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has signed an executive order which his office says reinforces some existing liability protections for the state’s health care workers. The order Northam signed on Tuesday says it is in the public interest to afford healthcare providers with adequate protection against liability for good faith actions or omissions taken as they fight the pandemic. Meanwhile, the University of Virginia Health System announced it would implement a series of moves in response to lost revenue stemming from the outbreak. That includes reductions in pay for leadership and physicians and reduced contributions to retirement funds. 

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