Governor Ralph Northam set the tone of the week, announcing Wednesday he was amending Executive Order Seventy-Two to safely and gradually ease public health restrictions while mitigating the spread of the virus, allowing certain outdoor sports and entertainment venues to begin operating at increased capacity starting Monday, March 1.
Northam highlighted that COVID-19 hospitalizations and infection rates continue to decline and vaccinations rise, noting Virginia’s daily case numbers were down to 1,708 as of Wednesday, the lowest it has been since Thanksgiving, and nearly 1.7 million vaccines had been distributed.
The easing of restrictions coincided with a number of reopening plan announcements around the region, from the Virginia Symphony Orchestra announcing dates for live performances to Water Country slated to open in May to Historic Jamestowne set to reopen March 1.
There were plenty of reminders, however, that COVID-19 is not behind us.
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced Wednesday that the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 had been identified in Central Virginia. The variant, which first emerged in the United Kingdom in late 2020, has been linked to increased person-to-person transmission of COVID-19.
The Virginia resident had no history of travel during the exposure period.
Preliminary reports show this variant causes more severe illness than other variants, but more studies are needed to confirm this finding.
Meanwhile, The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) announced several cancellations and adjustments to its men’s basketball schedule, including the cancellation of William & Mary’s games against Northeastern University this weekend due to COVID-19 protocols within the Northeastern program.
The games against Northeastern were the Tribe’s last scheduled regular-season games before the CAA tournament.
Here are some recent COVID-19 headlines you may have missed:
COVID-19 vaccine updates
- ‘Vaccinate Virginia’ website is now live. Here’s what that means
- Confused about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout?
- Don’t post your COVID-19 vaccine card on social media
- What’s the deal with the COVID-19 vaccination process? A few locals share their experience
- York County establishes COVID-19 vaccine helpline
- Free hotline established for questions regarding Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center vaccination clinic
- Gov. eases COVID-19 restrictions as daily case numbers decrease, vaccine doses rise
- Williamsburg Regional Library reopens
- Williamsburg city manager extends staff telework directive for two more weeks
- Local school divisions move forward in bringing students back to the classroom
- Two private schools, two different approaches
- Gov. Northam announces support to reopen schools
- WJCC Schools, York County School Division on track for fall sports season
- Williamsburg extends deadline for Municipal Utility Relief Program throughout 2021
- Williamsburg Health Foundation announced $1 million in grants to help prevent renter evictions
- Utility relief is available
- Help is available for area businesses
- Five things to know about taxes in a pandemic
The latest numbers for the Peninsula Health District, which includes the Historic Triangle, are below, courtesy of the Virginia Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard: