September 2, 2020: "We need to remain vigilant, we continue to monitor the data"

  
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Today’s Patreon-fueled shout-out is for Abundant Life Ministries, “working hard to create a better future for the Charlottesville community.”

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Governor Ralph Northam held his first COVID-19 press conference since early August yesterday in order to warn Virginians against being complacent as the holiday weekend approaches. 

“Overall, the coronavirus is moderately contained in Virginia,” Northam said. “The case numbers remain steady and the percent positivity is not spiking but again we continue to watch this very closely and we need to remain vigilant, we continue to monitor the data.” 

For an audio record of Northam’s press conference, take a listen to the latest episode of the Charlottesville Quarantine Report.

In the question and answer period, Northam was asked whether he would intervene if cases spiked at public colleges and universities that open to in-person instruction. The University of Virginia is expected to do so in six days on September 8. 

“We have provided specific guidelines,” Northam said.  “The colleges and universities have been working with [State Council on Higher Education in Virginia]. Their plans were certified by SCHEV and we’re watching this very closely. We expect our colleges and universities to continue to follow their plans and to also work with the local health districts. As long as we see that continuing to happen, then I think we can proceed. But if it’s not, then I certainly have the opportunity to intervene and make changes.”

This is a link to UVA’s reopening plan as filed with SCHEV. There is a section on page eight about the criteria if shutting down is necessary at UVA. 

“UVA will follow Governor Northam’s statewide executive orders regarding restrictions and potential return to previous phases of opening/closure. As noted above in the monitoring of campus outbreaks, UVA will closely monitor the campus community using a dashboard of key metrics including but not limited to capacity for isolation and quarantine, as well as in the UVA Medical Center. Criteria for shutdown in the absence of an executive order are still being finalized.”

Just four hours after Northam’s press conference, James Madison University announced plans to reverse course and go to online-instruction only. That happened after the school’s COVID tracker showed more than 500 cases. JMU started class on August 26. 

The University of Virginia’s COVID tracker announced 31 new cases today, including 28 among students. That’s for a total of 155 positive cases since August 17. That’s 117 positive student cases. The tracker also states that out of 17,203 pre-arrival tests taken by students, 55 were positive. (COVID-tracker

There are another 927 cases reported today by the Virginia Department of Health, and another 29 deaths. The seven-day average for positive tests remains at 7.7 percent today. The Thomas Jefferson Health District reports another 25 cases, and another 3 fatalities bringing the total to 53. The seven-day average for positive tests in the TJHD rose to 7.1 percent today, up from 6.6 percent yesterday. 

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A Charlottesville Police Officer has been charged with assault and battery stemming from a March 3 incident on Prospect Avenue that resulted in two arrests. According to a release that was briefly on the city’s website, one of the arrests was for drunk in public, and the arrestee was later found not guilty in Charlottesville General District Court. After body camera footage was viewed in court, a complaint was made claiming that one of the arrestees had been assaulted by one of the officers. On Monday, a Magistrate found probable cause for a warrant to arrest Officer Jeffrey Jaeger on misdemeanor assault and battery charges. His court appearance is scheduled for September 14. 

Shortly after this news release was posted, Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker interviewed Police Chief RaShall Brackney on the city’s talk show, Charlottesville 360. Walker began the program by asking the chief why she wanted to take the job and Brackney responded she appreciated the challenge.

“If you could reclaim the narrative of Charlottesville, if people could really just understand the pain and where some of the pain comes from in Black community, and if there was a way I could even be a bridge or a conduit to some of that healing, particularly the pain that law enforcement had caused in this community when they had not lived up to their expectations in any way of the type of service the community wanted and expected of them, I firmly believe we were led here and I firmly believe that we were led here for a time such as this,” Brackney said. 

Last week, the city appointed a final member to the city’s Police Civilian Review Board. Former City Council candidate Bellamy Brown was appointed one day after Council had appointed a city employee to the CRB, something that was in violation of the group’s by-laws. 

The two-hour conversation is available for viewing on the city’s website. (watch)

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One in five Virginia households has not yet filled out their Census forms, and time is running out. Kelly Thomasson is the Secretary of the Commonwealth and she asked anyone who has not yet completed the Census to do so now. 

“The Census is a population count and the Census data is used to determine how federal funding is used to determine how federal funding is distributed to states and to how many seats we get in Congress,” Thomasson said. “It is also used by our state and local communities to shape public safety planning, to determine where schools and hospitals are built, and more.” 

The Census began in March and Thomasson said over 80 percent of Virginia households have either responded or been counted by an official enumerator. The U.S. Census Bureau is ending all counting efforts on September 30, a month earlier than originally planned.

The main meeting today is of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors, where they will discuss the possibility of “hybrid” public meetings with in-person and electronic participants. In the afternoon, they’ll also get an update on the county’s legislative priorities, a briefing on how land use developments estimate how much traffic they will generate, and more. In the evencbicing there is a public hearing for the proposed Breezy Hill subdivision on U.S. 250 in eastern Albemarle. For more on the 1 p.m. meeting, go back and look at Sunday’s Week Ahead newsletter.  (meeting agenda)

Today in corrections is a minor one. Yesterday I had a small piece on the Charottesville Business Innovation Council’s upcoming gala. It begins at 5 p.m. and not 7 p.m.

If you go at 7, you’ll miss the networking opportunities! 

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