Health and Medicine

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The Virginia Department of Health reports 331 confirmed or “probable” COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke Valley since the virus first arrived. That includes 160 in Roanoke City, 105 in Roanoke County, 34 in Salem and 32 in Botetourt County. The VDH reports 23 deaths in the valley from COVID-19. Five new cases were reported in Roanoke City and one additional case in Roanoke County.

”Probable” cases are defined as symptomatic persons with known exposure to COVID-19 but were not tested or whose tests results are pending.


The Virginia Department of Health reports a total of 325 COVID-19 cases in the Roanoke Valley since the virus first arrived. They include 155 in Roanoke City, 104 in Roanoke County, 34 in Salem and 32 in Botetourt County. The statewide total as reported by the  Virginia Department of Health is 43,611, with 1,370 confirmed or “probable” deaths, 23 of them in the Roanoke Valley. “Probable” is defined as symptomatic persons who died after known exposure to COVID-19 but were not tested or whose tests results are pending.

12 new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases have been added in the Roanoke Valley over the latest 24-hour reporting period. Five in Roanoke County, Five in Roanoke City, and two in Salem. There’s been no change in the number of hospitalizations or deaths in the Roanoke Valley according to the latest data from the Virginia Department of Health.

This is day one of Governor Northam’s face mask executive order. It requires face mask use inside public indoor areas, with limited exceptions. But there are questions regarding enforcement, as violators cited face the potential of up to a one year in jail. As for re-openings, the governor says all public beaches in Virginia may once again welcome swimmers and sunbathers — with restrictions that include limits to group sizes and sporting activities. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

05-29 Northam Update Wrap-WEB

US Senator Tim Kaine and his wife Anne Holton – the interim president of George Mason University – have tested positive for antibodies to the coronavirus, a blood test that indicated previous exposure to COVID-19. Kaine says they decided to have the antibody testing after they both felt ill earlier this year. (see release below)


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement: “My wife Anne and I recently tested positive for antibodies to coronavirus. “I tested positive for the flu earlier this year and was given standard medication to treat it. The symptoms lingered and I continued to receive treatment from my physician for the flu through mid-March. At the end of March, I experienced new symptoms that I initially thought were flu remnants and a reaction to an unusually high spring pollen count. Then Anne experienced a short bout of fever and chills, followed by congestion and eventually a cough.

“After Anne got sick, we each talked to our health providers in early April and they thought it possible that we had mild cases of coronavirus. We were both at home in Richmond, working remotely and isolated from others. Due to the national testing shortage, we were not tested for the virus but continued isolating and watched for any worsening of symptoms. By mid-April we were symptom free. “We each tested positive for coronavirus antibodies this month. While those antibodies could make us less likely to be re-infected or infect others, there is still too much uncertainty over what protection antibodies may actually provide. So we will keep following CDC guidelines—hand-washing, mask wearing, social distancing. We encourage others to do so as well. It shows those around you that you care about them.”

Virginia Republican leaders are calling upon lawmakers of both parties to change the state’s emergency powers statute. They say the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light that the governor’s emergency powers are too broad and can last too long. – and there should instead be a shorter limit on such orders, perhaps 30 days, until legislators can reconvene in special session. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

05-28 Emergency Powers Wrap-WEB

At last week’s virtual Roanoke City press conference Mayor Sherman Lea expressed concern over the low numbers of COVID-19 testing results – as the city prepared for a partial reopening. City Manager Bob Cowell addressed that issue at yesterday’s virtual session – taking his cue from what Dr. Molly O’Dell with the Roanoke and Alleghany Health Districts said the day before:




Today marks the end of four full weeks since Virginia dentists were permitted to once again perform non-emergency procedures. It has involved a learning curve for both dentists and patients, and as everyone involved becomes familiar with changes, the longer-term question becomes now long might they remain in place. More from WFIR’s Evan Jones:

05-28 Virginia Dentists Wrap-WEB

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