The Virginia Department of Health continues to work through its data backlog and has reported 141 new deaths in the last two days.
As was the case with four new deaths reported Tuesday in the Rappahannock Area Health District, some fatalities happened weeks ago and were just added to the state database.
Wednesday’s report showed another death in Spotsylvania County, but local health officials determined that was a duplicate from an earlier report. However, one death reported in Stafford County on Tuesday actually was a Spotsylvania resident, said Allison Balmes–John, district spokesperson. That means 42 of the 69 people who have died in the local health district lived in Spotsylvania.
As state public-health officials go through death certificates to update the number of Virginians who have died from the virus, a website has ranked the state as having the third-most restrictions nationwide in relation to the coronavirus.
WalletHub, a personal-finance website, looked at 17 metrics such as requirements to wear masks in public and restrictions on public gatherings, reopening of restaurants and bars and recommendations for working from home. It found that only Hawaii and California exceeded Virginia in the number of COVID-19 restrictions.
South Dakota, Utah and Oklahoma had the fewest restrictions, according to the WalletHub rankings.
The survey also looked at what impact the restrictions had on the death toll. Virginia was among 16 states that had many restrictions and a low death rate, and another 16 states had just the opposite—few restrictions and high death rates. Of the remaining states, about half had a high death rate, despite the restrictions, and the rest had a low death rate even with few restrictions.
States that do put restrictions in place should enforce them, suggested Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with the website.
“Otherwise there is no incentive for people to follow the rules,” she said. “Fines are a good deterrent to make sure Americans follow COVID-19 restrictions, and enforcement will also minimize the need for citizens to play the police.”
Cathy Dyson: 540/374-5425