Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says May 15 is the date the state may start a gradual rollback of restrictions on nonessential businesses that have sent the state’s economy into a tailspin.If there are enough signs that the spread of the novel coronavirus is slowing, Virginia would enter “phase one” of its reopening plan, though Northern Virginia and other covid-19 “hot zones” could opt out if officials believe it is still unsafe.Those decisions depend on a few key metrics that the governor and public health officials are closely monitoring. Namely, they hope to see a downward trajectory in the rate of infections and new hospital admissions over 14 days.Northam (D) also says Virginia must ramp up testing to get a better sense of how widespread infections are in the state and hire more contact tracers to quickly track down close contacts of infected patients so they, too, can be isolated. And hospitals should have enough available beds and personal protective equipment (PPE) to be able to absorb any new spikes in cases.Daily fatalities have inched back upward in recent days after a brief plateau, while the rate of infections has steadily dropped and new hospitalizations have seesawed downward.New daily deaths per


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