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Virginia’s COVID-19 case numbers hit a new milestone on Monday: just 336 reported cases, according to the Virginia Department of Health; the last time numbers dropped below 400 was in June and April of 2020. According to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, COVID-19 hospitalizations are low as well, with the seven-day moving average at 775 on Thursday; that number hasn’t been below 800 since late March 2020.

“Today, @VDHgov is reporting the lowest number of new #COVID19 cases in over a year at just 336. The data is giving us a very clear message—the vaccines are working,” Governor Ralph Northam tweeted Monday.

Since then, individual case numbers have ticked back up, hitting 579 on Thursday. Still, the overall trend is downwards. On Thursday, the seven-day moving average of case numbers was at 619, about where it was in early May 2020 and early July 2020.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health announced that starting Friday, adolescents aged 12-15 can also get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, previously only available to those 16 and older. Health officials said that even though most adolescents don’t get seriously ill from COVID-19, getting the vaccine will protect them from transmitting the disease. Additionally, it protects them from having to quarantine, missing school or sporting events, if they are around someone who has COVID-19.

Getting this safe, effective vaccine means that these adolescents won’t have to miss school, sporting events or other activities if they are exposed to someone with COVID-19, taking another step toward getting their lives back to normal,” Virginia’s vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said in a press release.

As Virginia’s case numbers go down, Northam is opening the state back up. Northam has already announced that on Saturday, May 15, he will relax COVID-19 capacity restrictions. The new guidelines allow 100 people at indoor social events and 250 at outdoor gatherings, up from 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Indoor entertainment venues can have the lesser of 50 percent capacity or 1,000 people. Outdoor venues can operate at 50 percent capacity. Indoor sporting event capacity increases to the lesser of 250 spectators or 50 percent capacity; outdoor sporting events increases to 1,000 people or 50 percent capacity, whichever is less.

Additionally, restaurants will be allowed to have their dining rooms open between midnight and five a.m. Restaurants will also be allowed to sell alcohol after midnight, and bar seating will be open, as long as there is six feet of distance between parties at the bar.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance to say that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume activities without wearing a mask or social distancing. However, that’s subject to local laws and business guidance. In Virginia, Northam’s mask mandate remains in place.

Two weeks ago, the CDC announced that fully-vaccinated people don’t need masks outdoors in most circumstances. Within a few days, Northam updated Virginia’s mask requirement to match that guidance.

In response to the new guidance Thursday, Northam tweeted, “Virginia will continue to follow @CDCgov guidelines as we have done throughout this pandemic. We are reviewing the new mask and distancing recommendations and will update our guidance accordingly. If you have not been vaccinated, visit and get your shot!”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Digital Network.  Email tips to [email protected].











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MassDOT Urges Drivers To Be ‘Aggressively Nice’ With Traffic Returning To Pre-Pandemic Levels

BOSTON (CBS) — With traffic levels in Massachusetts back to pre-pandemic levels, the state’s Department of Transportation released a PSA this week encouraging drivers to be “aggressively nice” on the road.

Along with the non-profit Fundación MAPFRE and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, MassDOT created the video to poke fun at the stereotype of a Massachusetts driver while also encouraging road safety.

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The ad is titled “Look Both Ways”, and it is part of a campaign to limit the amount of road-related injuries and fatalities as restrictions are lifted across the state.

In the PSA, a man driving a car stops right in front of a woman rushing to cross a street in Boston. The following exchange ensues:

Woman: “I’m sorry!”

Man: “No, I’m sorry!”

Woman: “I shouldn’t have crossed!”

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Man: “I shouldn’t have been going so fast!”

Woman: “Well, I should’ve looked both ways!”

Man: “I should have anticipated you not looking both ways! Have a nice day!”

Woman: “No, you have a nice day!”

A shot from the “Aggressively Nice” PSA released by MassDOT (Photo Credit: MassDOT)

According to a study by the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, the most common cause of unintentional injury death among children 1-14 years of age (49 percent) was transportation-related, as passengers in vehicles and as pedestrians.

Along with the PSA, Fundación MAPFRE is planning a “Look Both Ways” Road Tour, in which they will bring an interactive road safety program to high schools, colleges and public events across Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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Details about Look Both Ways, along with road safety resources, can be found at

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