Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up.
Bye-bye, fido! Several Virginia police departments will be bidding farewell to their drug-sniffing dogs after marijuana was decriminalized in the state. Unfortunately, any dogs that were imprinted to search for marijuana can no longer be used. –WAVY 10
Five things you need to know today …
- First Coronavirus Case in Central Virginia, Nine Cases Total in the State- Central Virginia has its first case of coronavirus. Announced by Gov. Ralph Northam in a press conference Wednesday morning, that brought the state’s total to nine people. The infected teen is from Ashland-Hanover area and allegedly traveled internationally. Health officials told people not to panic, but to remain aware. The health department says they are working to find out who has been in contact with the person, and will “put measures in place to monitor” anyone who was potentially exposed. – WTVR
- Paid Sick Bill Blocked by Virginia Lawmakers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic- As the coronavirus spreads across Virginia, a proposal that would’ve required businesses with 15 or more employees to grant all workers five paid sick days minimum failed. Meanwhile, health officials nationwide warn workers who feel sick to stay home. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who cosponsored similar legislation in the Senate, said the public health crisis “underscores the urgent need to pass paid sick leave legislation”. – Virginia Mercury
- Strip Search of 8-year-old in Virginia Leads to Legislation- The General Assembly passed four bills addressing how visitors can be searched in Virginia prisons, after a strip search of an 8-year-old girl visiting a prison last fall made national news. At the time the 8-year-old was told a strip search was the only way she’d be allowed to see her father, and if she refused she could’ve been banned from the prison. After the search, Gov. Northam suspended the strip search of children. Each one of the bills addresses strip searches in separate ways, including the strip searching of minors. – The Virginian Pilot
- Virginia Prisons Work to Prevent Coronavirus Spread- Several Virginia prisons and jails are enhancing the cleaning and increasing the screening of the inmates and staff among other precautions to prepare for coronavirus. Inmates are being asked four health-related questions when booked in the Chesterfield County Jail, including whether or not they’ve traveled internationally. The jail has also placed sanitizer in different parts of the facility. Sick inmates are entered into a database and have their conditions tracked. – the Richmond Times-Dispatch
- UVA Cancels Classes due to Coronavirus Concerns- The University of Virginia announced it will no longer be holding in-person classes for “the foreseeable future” due to coronavirus concerns. Online classes will begin on March 19. Students who are away on spring break are encouraged to remain home if they’re already there. Students at UVA are encouraged to return home by the weekend. UVA President Jim Ryan said they’ll reassess the situation on April 5. Other Virginia universities, like James Madison University, were also considering canceling in-person classes, though nothing has been reported yet. – NBC 29