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Northam bans events over 100 people statewide as Virginia has 45 confirmed coronavirus cases

UPDATED: A Virginia Department of Emergency Management employee has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency announced Sunday afternoon.

"VDEM leadership has made appropriate notifications to others who may have also been exposed, and is currently working closely with the Virginia Department of Health," the agency, which is based in Chesterfield, said in a press release. "VDEM has ensured that all employees are aware of the necessary precautions and preventative measures, as well as the steps necessary in the event of a possible exposure."

Earlier: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced a statewide ban on all events over 100 people in a teleconference call Sunday afternoon, as 45 people in the commonwealth have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"If you are planning an event with several people, you should cancel it, period," Northam said.

He said the commonwealth is not to the point of calling for a mandated quarantine, but he urged residents to avoid bars, restaurants, churches and any other social gathering and to stay home as much as possible.

Health officials from the Peninsula Health District, which covers Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and York County, were also on the call and announced they would be closing all public buildings in the district through March 30.

Essential services such as police, fire crews and trash pickup will continue during the break.

As of Sunday morning, there are 45 people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Health Department officials announced the first coronavirus-related death in Virginia on Saturday in the Peninsula district.

The hospitalized patient was a James City man in his 70s who acquired the virus through an unknown source, the Health Department said.

Officials said they are working on containment and tracing the 284 contacts the patient may have had after infection.

Also on Saturday, state health officials announced Chesterfield County’s first positive test for the coronavirus, a man in his 60s who was said to be doing well and is isolated at home.


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