Clockwise (from top left):
“Virginia’s getting a fraction of the protective equipment needed from the federal government, documents show”-Kate Masters, Virginia Mercury
“COVID-19 threatens census count. At stake: money, political power.”-Allison Stevens, Virginia Mercury
“How strictly are Virginia’s social distancing orders being enforced? Court records show just a few citations.”-Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury
“Despite EPA decision, Virginia says polluters must ‘make every effort’ to comply with environmental regulations”-Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury
New documents released Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform show that Virginia is receiving a fraction of the personal protective equipment it has ordered from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
At the same time, more than a dozen Virginia hospitals are close to exhausting their own supplies. According to data being tracked by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, 13 hospitals said they would have difficulty obtaining or replenishing enough personal protective equipment to meet demand within the next three days without assistance.
Organizations across the country are marking the occasion with webinars, virtual rallies, Twitter chats and other digital events throughout the week. April 1 is the date by which all people in U.S. households are to be counted.
But the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to make the count even more difficult than usual, which could exacerbate the inequitable distribution of resources in Virginia and other states.
Health and Safety
For more than a week, it’s technically been unlawful for Virginians to gather in groups of 10 or more people.
But since Gov. Ralph Northam issued his main executive order on March 23 to stop the spread of COVID-19, state court records show just two cases of people being formally charged for violating social distancing rules, though those records may not reflect all citations.
Virginia will not relax its enforcement of environmental regulations despite an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week that it won’t impose civil penalties on polluting facilities that don’t comply with routine monitoring and reporting obligations during the coronavirus pandemic.
“All regulated entities are expected to make every effort to comply with environmental compliance obligations, adhere to permit limits and maintain the safe and environmentally protective operation of their facilities,” said Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor in a news release Tuesday.