‘COVID is still out there’: Cases in Richmond slightly increase; monetary relief available to businesses impacted by pandemic

‘COVID is still out there’: Cases in Richmond slightly increase; monetary relief available to businesses impacted by pandemic
Mayor Levar Stoney holds a news conference Wednesday to provide an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the city (Source: NBC12)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond City leaders say despite a decrease in the percent positivity rate for COVID-19 over the last 17 days, this pandemic is far from over.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Richmond City Health District Director, Dr. Danny Avula, said over the last 10 days the number of positive coronavirus cases across the city has slightly increased.

Some of those numbers are coming from outbreaks, including at the Richmond City Jail and Virginia Commonwealth University.

“The 20-29 age group has really been leading the case count, that has certainly been true over the last few months,” Avula said. “We’ve seen a surge in the young adult population. I think that is somewhat reflective of phase three reopening, young adults feeling like they’re not vulnerable and returning to some sense of normal activity.”

Currently, more than 60 students at VCU have tested positive for COVID-19, along with 13 employees.

According to the Virginia Department of Health data, the 20-29 age range shows the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the city, with 947.

However, Avula said there are cluster investigations underway right now in manufacturing settings, warehouses, restaurants and some bars.

As of Wednesday, the Richmond City Health District reported a total of 3,662 positive COVID-19 cases since March; 43 people have died from the disease.

“COVID is still out there; we need to socially distance and wear our masks if we are really going to keep this at bay,” Avula added.

“Masks are still mandatory,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.

Meanwhile, small businesses impacted by the pandemic will be able to get monetary relief.

Stoney announced the “Richmond Recovers” grant which will provide small businesses and non-profits with anywhere from $10,000-$15,000.

“To reimburse employee wages, pay rent and utilities for commercial spaces and use as working capital,” he said.

The $3 million in funding for the grant was allocated from the city's cut from the CARES Act.

At this point, Stoney said the city will have contributed $4.1 million to small businesses throughout the pandemic.

“Richmond’s small businesses and non-profit organizations have proven resilient through the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic,” Stoney said. “They have worked relentlessly to safely keep their doors open and serve customers and clients. The Richmond Recovers grants will provide much needed and deserved financial relief.”

Applications can be submitted online from Sept. 1, 2020, to Sept. 30, 2020.

Additionally, Stoney announced an update from a survey posted on Aug. 19 regarding child care needs.

So far, nearly 2,000 families responded to the survey posted online, with 70% of those responses in Spanish, according to Stoney.

“It reflects our city’s roughly 6% Latino population,” he added.

Over the past few weeks, groups have also promoted the survey in the RRHA communities.

“So far, 70% of respondents have been unable to find child care arrangements,” Stoney said. “It is clear there is a need, but we will continue to determine how best to meet that need.”

Richmond Public School Superintendent, Dr. Jason Kamras, said he will be reviewing the data over the next few days along with the school board to devise a plan to best address this issue.

The school board is scheduled to meet Monday, Aug. 31.

Families who have not yet filled out the survey may do so here.

Mayor Stoney to provide COVID-19 update for City of Richmond

Mayor Stoney to provide COVID-19 update for City of Richmond >> https://bit.ly/3jmWcpP

Posted by NBC12 on Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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