The Virginia Department of Health reports that there are 14,339 cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth, an increase of 804 cases Monday. Which is the biggest one day increase for Virginia during the pandemic. The VDH says that there have been 492 deaths, 2,165 hospitalizations, and 82,753 people have been tested for the virus. There are 112 cases in Southwest Virginia with 34 in Washington County with 8 hospitalizations and 3 deaths, 22 in Wise County with 9 hospitalizations and 1 death, 16 in Buchanan County, 13 in Smyth County with 4 hospitalizations and 8 recoveries, 9 in Lee County with 1 hospitalization, 7 in Scott County with 1 hospitalization and 1 death, 5 in Tazewell County, 3 in Russell County, 2 in the City of Norton with 2 hospitalizations, and 1 in the City of Bristol with 1 recovery. The CDC has also added six new coronavirus symptoms. The new symptoms are chills, shaking, loss of taste or smell, muscle pain, headache, and sore throat. The original symptoms were fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
The Virginia Department of Health reports that there are 13,535 cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth. The VDH says that there have been 458 deaths, 2,066 hospitalizations, and 80,180 people have been tested. There are 107 cases in Southwest Virginia according to the VDH, there are 34 cases in Washington County with 8 hospitalizations and 3 deaths, 21 in Wise County with 9 hospitalizations and 1 deaths, 14 in Buchanan County, 13 in Smyth County with 4 hospitalizations and 8 recoveries, 8 in Lee County with 1 hospitalization, 6 in Scott County with 1 hospitalization and 1 death, 5 in Tazewell County, 3 in Russell County with 1 hospitalization, 2 in the City of Norton with 2 hospitalizations, and 1 in the City of Bristol with 1 recovery. On Sunday, the Mount Rogers Health District reported the first confirmed case in Grayson County, but the VDH has not yet added the case to its numbers. It would raise Southwest Virginia's total to 108.
The Virginia Department of Health reports that there are 8,990 cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. The VDH says that there have been 300 deaths, 1,500 hospitalizations, and 56,735 people have been tested for the virus. There are 92 cases in Southwest Virginia with 29 in Washington County, 18 in Wise County, 13 in Smyth County, 12 in Buchanan County, 7 in Lee County, 4 in both Scott and Tazewell County, 2 in both Russell County and the city of Norton, and 1 in the city of Bristol.
Two local coal mines have closed temporarily and nearly 90 employees have been furloughed. The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy said Patriot Mining in Wise County closed last week. They have 40 total employees, most of whom will be furloughed. A few will stay behind to maintain the mine. Arcelot Mittal Extra Energy in Tazewell County idled Friday. The company said the closure was due to market conditions because of COVID-19. 51 miners were furloughed and company officials are not sure when the mine will reopen. All Contura Energy mines have reopened with the miners wearing masks.
A CAR CRASH IN SULLIVAN COUNTY ON SATURDAY NIGHT SENDS THREE PEOPLE TO THE HOSPITAL AND CHARGES ARE NOW PENDING
Charges are pending after a head-on collision on Saturday night on Highway 421 in Sullivan County. Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that Caleb Haven, an 18-year-old from Castlewood, Virginia, was traveling at a high rate of speed in a 2014 Subaru Impreza and struck a 2016 Hyundai Elantra driven by 19-year-old Courtney Gragg that was turning from the boat ramp onto Highway 421 Northbound head-on. Gragg's passenger, Emmie Black, was injured in the collision and was transported to a Johnson City hospital. Haven and his 19-year-old passenger, Mario Olvera, was also tranpsorted to a Bristol hospital, but had no reported injuries.
Two Johnson City men have been arrested after a Sunday morning burglary. Johnson City Police responded to an early Sunday morning burglary alarm at Ross Dress for Less on People's Street and found two suspects inside the Ross at around 4:55 A.M. The two suspects fled out of the back of the building, and were apprehended by officers. It was discovered that they had been in an adjoining vacant business of what once was Rugged Warehouse by prying a back door open. The two men were allegedly using tools to bust through an adjoining wall to gain access into Ross, where they then stole thousands of dollars' worth of various items and were in the process of taking those items through the hole when officers arrived. JCPD arrested 52-year-old Bobby Thompson and 37-year-old Benjamin Hyatt and were charged with burglary, possession of burglary tools and theft over $2500. Hyatt was also charged with 16 counts of criminal simulation when he was found to be in possession of counterfeit currency in his wallet. They are being held in the Washington County Detention Center.
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state of Virginia over the requirement of having a witness present to vote absentee during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three voters and the League of Women Voters. Under state law, any voter who submits an absentee ballot by mail must open the envelope containing the ballot in front of another person, fill out the ballot and then ask the witness to sign the outside of the ballot envelope before it is mailed. The lawsuit says the witness requirement could cause massive disenfranchisement of Virginia voters.
GOVERNOR NORTHAM SAYS THAT VIRGINIA HAS REDUCED ITS JAIL OCCUPANCY BY 17 PERCENT IN RESPONSE TO COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The State of Virginia has reduced its jail population by 17 percent in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Ralph Northam said Friday that the jail population in the state was 24,000 on April 7, down 17 percent from March 1. The state has also seen a 67 percent decline in the number of new commitments for misdemeanors. Northam said the reduction was achieved through various steps, including decreasing the number of low-risk offenders being held without bail in jails and using alternatives to jail such as home electronic monitoring.
Appalachian Sustainable Development launches initiative to help communities struggling during coronavirus pandemic
Bristol, VA, 04/17/2020 – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) is launching a community building initiative called the Help Your Neighbor campaign which is designed to keep farmers farming and feed hungry families. As unemployment rates continue to climb, more and more of our neighbors are struggling to make ends meet, including having limited access to fresh, healthy food. At the same time farmers in other regions of the country are throwing away thousands of pounds of produce and dairy products. This is simply not something we can let happen in our communities.
Each year local farmers invest significant time and money in the planting and harvesting of their produce with the expectation that they will have market outlets for their products. Due to COVID-19, that fell apart this year and many local farmers are scrambling. In response, ASD will provide them revenue lost from expected market outlets (restaurant purchases, bustling farmer’s market sales and more) by purchasing their produce and then donating it to local food banks and pantries. The challenge is that ASD did not budget for this need so early in the season. The Help Your Neighbor campaign aims to raise $30,000 by 5/8/2020.
“It seems that ASD has been preparing for just this time for 25 years,” says Kathlyn Terry Baker, ASD’s executive director. “Appalachian Harvest, the food hub we established in 2000, has been a leader in Central Appalachia, recognized for building distribution networks that connect small and medium scale farmers with markets both within Central Appalachia and on the east coast. This has resulted in a network of farmers and partners across a very broad footprint. Additionally, since 2004, we have been buying seconds produce and donating it to food banks and food pantries, resulting in 1.3 million pounds of food being donated while also supporting our local farmers. We are ready to increase our ability to move food from farmers to families immediately with the goal of keeping farmers farming and feeding hungry families.”
How the campaign works
Donations – whether they are from stimulus funds or the money people are saving by not driving to work – will be used to buy fresh fruits and vegetables which will be donated to those in need. Donations can be made online at: https://asdevelop.org/donate. Checks may be mailed to ASD, 103 Thomas Road, Bristol, VA, 24201.
ASD hopes communities will come together and do what they can, and encourages everyone to create their own Help Your Neighbor campaign. There are countless ways people can help by buying someone a meal or even calling a homebound person who desperately needs human contact. Whatever people can do during this time will make our communities that much stronger as we recover and look to a thriving future.
About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development celebrates its 25th year in 2020. ASD’s mission is to transition Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.
Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to: https://asdevelop.org, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts Activate Drive-Thru Testing for COVID-19
(WISE, Virginia) -- The Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts are activating drive-thru testing sites for COVID-19 at locations in Buchanan, Lee and Dickenson counties. Testing will occur next week.
These sites are closed to the public. Testing resources are limited, and only those who are pre-screened and approved for testing will be admitted, and only by appointment.
In order to be approved for testing, you must call in advance for a screening interview. Those that are approved for testing will receive an appointment time, a testing number and/or an emailed authorization letter. If you do not have access to email, you must bring a valid I.D. to the testing site. To avoid lengthy wait times, please come to the site at your appointed time and bring your documentation with you.
The Buchanan County Health Department will hold a site in the lower parking lot of the Appalachian College of Pharmacy, 1060 Dragon Road in Oakwood on Monday, April 20 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-935-4591 on Saturday and Sunday, April 18 and 19, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments will be available until all the slots are filled.
The Lee County Health Department will hold a site at the Lee County High School parking lot, 200 Generals Lane in Jonesville on Tuesday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-346-2011 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Dickenson County Health Department will hold a site at Valley View Baptist Church, West Main St. in Clintwood on Wednesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. To be screened for testing at this site, call 276-926-4979 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Additional testing sites and dates are being planned.
“Testing is important epidemiologically and helps us determine the prevalence of disease in our community,” said Sue Cantrell, M.D., director of the Cumberland Plateau and LENOWISCO Health Districts, “but because capacity is limited we will screen for those at highest risk. As we continue to test, we expect to have more positive cases.”
“In the vast majority of cases, testing does not inform our recommendations for your medical care,” Dr. Cantrell continued. “The best protection for each of us comes from taking personal precautions, including staying at home, practicing good hygiene and social distancing. That’s how YOU stay well, and how you protect those around you today, your family and friends, and our communities.”
To lower the risk of spreading respiratory infections, including COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health encourages everyone to:
For the most accurate and up-to-date information online, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/lenowisco www.vdh.virginia.gov/cumberlandplateau, www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.