62 Inmates Released Early to Slow Spread of COVID-19 in Virginia Prisons
By Arianna Coghill
April 29, 2020

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood. We’ve got a roundup of Virginia news coming up.

But First…

Virginia distilleries, breweries, cider makers, beer distributors and wine makers are banding together to make hand sanitizer in order to help COVID-19 relief efforts. — Inside Nova

Five Things You Need to Know Today

  1. Virginia Coronavirus Cases Reach Nearly 15,000- Virginia’s reported coronavirus cases have reached 14,961, an increase of 622 cases since Tuesday. Over 2,000 people have been hospitalized and 522 people have died due to the virus. Overall, 85,307 people have been tested for COVID-19 statewide, an increase of 2,554 people since yesterday. — Dogwood 

  2. Sixty Two Inmates Released Early in COVID-19 Relief For State Prisons- Sixty-two inmates have been released early under a plan to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to Virginia’s 30,000 state prison inmates. The 62 inmates, all with less than a year left on their sentences, were not the only ones approved. In total, 100 people had been approved for release by the Virginia Department of Corrections. The release was arranged under a budget amendment proposed by Gov Ralph Northam. — Richmond Times-Dispatch

  3. Amazon Donates $3.9 Million to CodeVa to Expand Computer Science Education- Amazon announced that it would be donating $3.9 million to CodeVa with an aim to expand the computer science program to 500,000 students in 700 communities across the state. They will also be providing immediate virtual training for 12,000 teachers. “Now more than ever, it’s imperative more students have computer science resources,” said CodeVa Founder Rebecca Dovi. — ABC 13

  4. Failure to File Death Certificates Online Might Behind the Lag in Reporting of COVID-19 Deaths- Virginia Health Commissioner Norm Oliver stated that some physicians aren’t using the mandatory electronic death registration system to register and record death certificates. Some experts say this could explain why Virginia’s COVID-19 death reports lag behind the real mortality rate. Roughly 12% of coronavirus deaths in the state don’t include the person’s race or ethnicity. — Virginia Mercury

  5. Virginia Department of Health Launches New Coronavirus Web Tool- The Virginia Department of Health has launched a new web tool that will answer frequently asked questions about the coronavirus. The tool, called “COVID-19 & You”, allows the user to click through topics like testing, prevention and ways you can help. The goal is to provide a more interactive way for people to get information and raise awareness about the virus according to the VDH. — NBC 29
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