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After Outbreak in City Offices, Stoney Urges Caution

Headshot of stoney
Stoney briefing the press from his home Thursday. He is in self-isolation following an outbreak among city employees. (Screenshot from briefing)

On the heels of a COVID-19 outbreak among city employees that left 57 in quarantine, Mayor Levar Stoney urged Richmonders to continue precautions to prevent the disease’s spread at a Thursday press conference.

Stoney reported 25 city employees have confirmed cases of the virus and 57 employees are quarantined, including 37 members of the Richmond Police Department. 

Richmond registrar Kirk Showalter reported an outbreak within her office Monday. The same day, Stoney announced a member of his campaign staff tested positive for the virus, causing him and his staff to self-isolate. Stoney said he will be tested tomorrow but is feeling well.

During the briefing, which Stoney and Richmond City Health District Director Dr. Danny Avula conducted from their respective homes, Avula confirmed there had also been a “cluster” of cases in the city’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. Six employees at the office tested positive after attending a social event together. 

Stoney pointed to the outbreak among city employees as further evidence that citizens need to take the virus seriously. 

“Let my office serve as an example to all of us,” he said. “We must stay vigilant or very soon, your world may change with one call from the Richmond City Health District.”

Vigilance has been a constant refrain from Stoney since case counts began to rise again in early October. He repeated people should avoid social gatherings, even with family and close friends. 

“Just because you see someone regularly, does not mean you should let your guard down,” he said. “The self-created COVID bubble is a myth. If they are outside your household, stay six-feet away and continue to wear a mask.”

The city reported 279 new cases last week, bringing the pandemic total to nearly 5,900, according to the Virginia Department of Health. 78 Richmonders have lost their lives to the virus.

Connor Scribner is a former VPM News assistant editor.
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