(From VDH) The first presumptive positive case in Virginia is a Marine Base Corps Quantico resident who is at Fort Belvoir. The second individual is a resident of the City of Fairfax in their 80s who traveled on a similar Nile River cruise as other positive coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The patient began to develop symptoms of respiratory illness on February 28, was hospitalized on March 5, and remains in stable condition. Health officials will provide more information on these case investigations and what is being done to identify and monitor other close contacts and protect the health of Virginians. The Virginia Department of Health will hold a news conference at 1pm to provide a status report.
Governor Northam and Cabinet officials have been briefed. Officials at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and the Virginia Department of Health are working cooperatively, according to longstanding public health protocols. The teams are in regular and close communication with federal, state, local, and private sector partners.
Public health officials caution that evidence has not been seen of COVID-19 spreading in Virginia and said the risk is low. Public health officials remind people in Virginia and on military installations to take precautions:
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
• Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia lawmakers approved a proposed change to the state’s constitution on Friday that supporters said would curb political gerrymandering, prompting an outcry by some Democrats who called it harmful to African Americans.
The state House narrowly voted to approve the proposed constitutional amendment that would task a bipartisan commission made up of lawmakers and citizens with drawing new congressional and legislative maps every 10 years. The measure, which critics called deeply flawed, passed last year with broad bipartisan support now heads to voters for a final decision in the fall.
Virginia lawmakers also gave final passage Friday to a sweeping energy bill that would overhaul how the state’s utilities generate electricity, a measure environmental groups and other renewable energy advocates considered a historic step toward addressing climate change.
The state Senate advanced the Virginia Clean Economy Act on a vote of 22-17, sending the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam a day after the House passed it. The measure was a top priority of leaders of the new Democratic majority that took control of the General Assembly in last fall’s elections.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Former Vice President Joe Biden has won Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary, reaffirming the state’s preference for moderate candidates over more progressive ones. Biden won the Virginia primary on Super Tuesday, a key date in the primary calendar when voters in 14 states made their picks. The full results from Super Tuesday were not immediately available. (With almost 96% reporting Biden was up more than 2 to 1 on votes over Sanders, with Warren and Bloomberg trailing far behind.) Biden beat out Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Virginia was a key test for Biden, who has started consolidating support among moderate Democrats after a convincing win Saturday in South Carolina. His victory shows an ability to win a state with diverse voting blocs, a mix of rural, urban and suburban areas, and many veteran voters.
The Biden victory is also a blow to Bloomberg, who launched his campaign in Virginia and visited the state several times since getting in to the race as a late entrant. He spent more than $2.5 million funding groups that helped the Democrats wrest control of the state legislature and spent lavishly on field staff and television advertising in Virginia. Once a key swing state, Democrats have won every statewide election in Virginia for the last decade,while also flipping partisan majorities in the state legislature and the congressional delegation.
(AP) Parts of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s sweeping gun control legislation have won final passage in the General Assembly. Lawmakers gave final passage to several pieces of gun control legislation Friday. That includes a red flag bill to allow authorities to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be dangerous to themselves or others, and legislation giving local governments more authority to ban guns in public places. Virginia has become the epicenter of the nation’s gun debate after Democrats took full control of the General Assembly last year on an aggressive gun-control platform. Northam is set to get seven out of eight gun control measures passed this year.
(from Lynchburg PD) The Lynchburg Police Department has confirmed no shots were fired at the River Ridge Mall [last night] At 6:58 p.m., officers responded to a call for shots fired at Belk at the River Ridge Mall. They determined there were no shots fired and the sound was doors closing.
At the same time, off-duty officers were on scene at the mall with a VIP guest. Once the officers became aware that the situation with the VIP guest was becoming unsafe due to the number of people and capacity of the mall, he was asked to leave, and left the area without incident. There are no reported injuries.
MIDLAND, Va. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy suspected of fatally shooting his mother and his 6-year-old brother in their Virginia home was arrested on Saturday in North Carolina, authorities said. Levi H. Norwood’s father found his wife and younger son dead from gunshot wounds when he returned to their Midland, Virginia, home on Friday evening, news outlets reported. Norwood shot and wounded his father, who escaped and called for help, according to the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office. The father was in stable condition at a hospital.
The search for Norwood ended Saturday when he was apprehended in North Carolina, after a store’s employees reported a shoplifter to police, a sheriff’s office spokesman, Sgt. James Hartman, said in an email. Hartman said a car that Norwood was suspected of stealing was recovered at the time of his arrest. Hartman wouldn’t specify where the teenager was arrested, saying Fauquier County detectives needed to get to North Carolina and “do their job first.” He said he would release the location on Sunday or Monday. Norwood was charged with two counts of murder in the killing of Jennifer Norwood, 34, and her son Wyatt.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — If there is a state where Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg could expect a return on investment, it is Virginia. By investing millions on state legislative races, Bloomberg helped Democrats take back the statehouse last fall. With full control of government in Virginia, Democrats have started pushing through progressive legislation on everything from gun control to gay rights.
And the state could serve as a centerpiece of his unorthodox campaign strategy of skipping the early primary states to compete in the 14 states that vote on March 3, Super Tuesday. At a Saturday campaign event, Bloomberg told a crowd of more than 900 that he’s running a campaign focused on defeating President Donald Trump — and that to win in November, “we absolutely have to win this commonwealth.”
Bloomberg launched his campaign with a handful of events in Virginia, has opened seven offices across the state and has a staff of more than 80 people on the ground. His Saturday visit was his sixth to the commonwealth, the most visits to any state so far, he told the crowd. His longtime political investments in the state have helped win fans among voters and local elected officials alike. State legislators and new members of Congress — almost all of them women — have counted him as a supporter. His campaign to take on the National Rifle Association has helped advance aggressive control legislation in the General Assembly.
(From Governor’s office) RICHMOND—The 13th cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station successfully launched today at 3:21 p.m. from Wallops Island. The mission will deliver 8,009 pounds of cargo to the space station. The “NG-13” mission is a partnership of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space), NASA Wallops Flight Facility, and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. The spacecraft launched from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) Pad 0A. Northrop Grumman named the NG-13 spacecraft after former astronaut Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. He became the first African American astronaut in 1967.
Thousands of gun-rights activists from Virginia and from around the country rallied peacefully in Richmond today, protesting plans by the state’s Democratic leadership to pass gun-control legislation. Richmond police now say an estimated 22,000 people showed up – far less than the 50,000 that had been predicted by some. Concerns about violence from possible clashes with gun law supporters were allayed. Proponents of gun control legislation are calling for bills that address issues like universal background checks and red flag laws. The description of who was expected to attend today’s Lobby Day rally in Richmond for gun rights did not sit well with an African American protester who was there in support, as he said in a video that was was posted on the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League Facebook page.