Gov. Ralph Northam at coronavirus press briefing

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at a coronavirus press conference in Richmond on Wednesday, March 25.

The coronavirus pandemic claimed at least three more Virginians Wednesday, bringing the overall number of COVID-19 deaths in the commonwealth to at least 12. 

Recent deaths included two elderly residents of the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, a nursing home in Henrico County where 14 patients and three staff members have tested positive for the virus, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Two Canterbury residents died Tuesday. A third death was reported there late Wednesday afternoon. The third person's death was not included in the 12 total fatalities state officials reported during a 2 p.m. Wednesday press briefing.

Two Canterbury patients were still hospitalized Wednesday, and nine others were receiving treatment in an isolated unit at the nursing facility, the Times-Dispatch reported.

During Wednesday's briefing, Virginia Epidemiologist Dr. Lilian Peak said officials are trying to learn more about how COVID-19 spread at the Canterbury facility.

Peak said other Virginia nursing homes have also reported cases of COVID-19, but she did not share which nursing homes or where they are located. 

The three deaths reported Wednesday included two more in the Peninsula District, which now has a total of seven, the most in the state.

The Pittsylvania/Danville area in southwest Virginia reported one COVID-19 death Wednesday, as did Virginia Beach.

Fairfax County has had one death, that of a federal contractor in his 60s, according to earlier Virginia Health Department reports.

Gov. Ralph Northam announced Wednesday he signed an executive order directing the state’s health care facilities to postpone elective surgeries amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Northam said the move is an effort to reserve and build capacity in its hospitals as Virginia enters a phase of “community spread” of the coronavirus.

“It’s also quite clear we have community spread now. That’s quite obvious,” Northam said.

The total number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases in Prince William County now stands at 32. The City of Manassas also reported its first two cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

Prince William County has not yet had any reported deaths tied to COVID-19.

Prince William Health District officials have not released information about specific COVID-19 cases since Tuesday, March 17, when it reported that the county’s fourth patient was a person in their 30s.

“[Prince William Health District] is no longer providing information about individual cases because we know that the virus is in our community,” Dr. Alison Ansher, director of the Prince William Health District, said in an email Saturday, March 21. 

“In Northern Virginia, there are pockets of community transmission,” Ansher’s email said.

The health department continues to encourage all residents to follow guidelines to help prevent transmission of COVID-19, including:

  • Practice social distancing: keep at least six feet away from others.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid going out if you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
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