RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) – The Virginia Department of Health reports that there have been 1,634,851 total confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth as of February 24th.

Of these cases, 1,165,816 are confirmed positive cases, while 469,035 are considered probable cases, meaning that there is no test result yet or that the person meets the criteria to be linked to a positive case.

On Thursday, 2,176 new cases were reported.

There have also been 15,270 confirmed COVID-related deaths and a further 3,170 probable since the start of the 2020 pandemic.

The first positive case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Virginia on March 7, 2020.

Vaccines to help protect people from serious illness from the virus have now been available for more than a year, and anyone who is at least five years old is eligible to be vaccinated.

VDH reports that 6,938,588 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia per February 24th. This means that 80.8 percent of Virginia’s eligible population has received at least one dose.

There are 6,175,032 individuals who are considered fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses of one of the mRNA vaccines or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson single-shot vaccine. VDH says 71.9 percent of the Commonwealth’s population is considered fully vaccinated under this definition.

The health department also reports that 2,794,376 people have received a booster shot or third dose.

Concerns were raised about the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, which overtook the Delta variant as the most common variant discovered in the United States in December.

VDH says the seven-day average number of new cases reported each day is 2,145. The state’s current record for the highest number of new cases reported in a single day was set on January 8 at 26,175.

People vaccinated against COVID-19 may still develop symptoms, but they tend to be mild and hospitalization is not required.

Hospitals reported in January that most cases of COVID-19 they treated were in people who are unvaccinated.

Former Gov. Ralph Northam issued a limited state of emergency on Jan. 10 to help ease the strain faced by hospitals and healthcare professionals in light of an increase in cases linked to the Omicron variant.

On January 15, the new governor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order canceling a mask mandate for public schools, saying the decision lies with the parents. Some school departments will continue to require masks for students and staff.

Several school departments in the area announced decisions regarding mask mandates, with Charlottesville and Albemarle and Nelson counties holding their mandates in place, while the counties of Madison, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Orange have all made masks optional.

From March 1, masking will be optional in all public elementary schools throughout Virginia.

From January 19, people can order free COVID-19 test kits from the federal government. These kits will be provided by the US Postal Service.

Several lawsuits have been filed against Youngkin’s executive order.

On February 1, Pfizer asked the US Food and Drug Administration to approve a version of its vaccine for children under five. The approval process is expected to take at least four weeks.

On Feb. 4, a judge in Arlington County issued a temporary restraining order regarding Youngkin’s mask mandates in the schools’ ordinance. This ruling applies only to the school departments that filed the lawsuit, including Richmond City Schools.

Another lawsuit regarding mask mandates, filed by parents in Chesapeake, was dismissed on Feb. 7.

On February 14, the general meeting passed a bill concerning mask mandates in schools, which Youngkin signed into law on February 16th. School departments must comply with this law by March 1st.

On February 20, Youngkin signed an executive order extending one of Northam’s last orders, regarding flexibility for hospitals, healthcare systems, nursing homes and other healthcare providers struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic. The order, which was originally scheduled to expire on February 21, will now be valid until March 22.

On Thursday, Albemarle County reported 49 new cases, Charlottesville reported 23, Fluvanna County reported six, Greene County reported six, Louisa County reported 12, and Nelson County reported two.

Madison County reported a negative case.

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