Jourdyn Grandison | Staff Writer
Hampton, VA- This week marks the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 reported in Virginia.
Since then, about 553,000 Virginians, including over 153,000 in Northern Virginia, have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and over 43,000 Virginians have been admitted, treated, and released due to virus symptoms. In addition, the epidemic has claimed the lives of over 7,000 Virginians, including over 1,700 in Northern Virginia.
At the start of the pandemic, Center for Disease Control (CDC) officials advised washing your hands and avoiding touching your face. Mask mandates hadn’t yet been enacted and nationwide shutdowns were on the cusp of our consciousness.
“This was unrelenting,” Gov. Northam said. “We were asked to fight a biological war without any supplies and without any guidance.”
Virginia experienced its first coronavirus case in March 2020, and due to the unknown ramifications of the virus, COVID-19 began to spread.
“I never expected quarantining to be a part of our reality,” said Hailey Keys, a Norfolk State University pre-nursing major. “When my family and I first got in contact with the virus, it was like the world was stuck on pause. It feels like a never ending cycle of loss and I’m ready for it to end.”
According to Gov. Northam, one of the many frustrating problems at the beginning of COVID-19 tracing had to do with testing. There were few tests available that had to be sent off to be analyzed by the CDC.
“The initial lack of resources in the state and nation created a chaotic situation. We used what was available through science and data,” Northam said.
Now, Virginia is focusing its efforts on vaccine rollout.
According to the health department’s vaccine dashboard, Virginia residents have received 1.4 million vaccine doses out of a total 1.73 million received by the state. A total of 351,000 Virginians have received both doses, which are needed for the vaccine to be completely effective.
“It’s been incredible to witness the resiliency, passion and dedication of the health care workforce driving care delivery across Virginia, said Steve Arner, Carilion Clinic Chief Operating Officer and the Chairman of VHHA’s Board of Directors. “While we wouldn’t wish to be in this situation, we appreciate that Virginia has a structurally-sound health care delivery system. We are fortunate to work alongside thousands of talented clinicians and health care workers whose dedication to patients is unparalleled.”