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RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Health reported on its website Wednesday that 391 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.

That's an increase of 101 cases from the 290 reported at noon yesterday.

The VDH also said that 5,370 have been tested for the virus in Virginia.

On March 19, state health officials said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers, and figures on the VDH website might not include cases reported by individual localities or local health districts. The state has a 5 p.m. cutoff for tabulating daily numbers, so the numbers reported on the website each day are 19 hours old.

(This is breaking news. This story will be updated.)


VCU piloting COVID-19 test with goal of same-day results

VCU Health System announced Wednesday that it is now piloting a COVID-19 test that it created in-house to identify whether hospitalized patients with severe symptoms are infected with the virus.

The hospital system intends to use the test to confirm and rule out COVID-19 cases with a goal of same-day results, according to a press release.

“Being able to determine whether a patient does or does not have COVID-19 quickly is of critical importance,” said Christopher Doern, Ph.D., director of microbiology at VCU Health, in a press release. “Being able to do that in our own laboratory will be a game changer in how we manage patients with potential COVID-19 symptoms.”

UVA Health also created its own test, which it debuted on March 18 and announced Wednesday that it would be making available for other hospitals in Virginia and surrounding states to use.

UVA Health has been testing between 25 and 50 people per day, the Daily Progress reported.

According to Doern, the process to create a test would normally take a year or more, but the VCU Health team created it in less than two weeks.

Still, a global shortage of the materials necessary for the test currently means that tests will be limited to those most likely to have COVID-19 who are hospitalized with severe symptoms.

VCU Health will continue to administer tests from private and public state health labs for all patients with COVID-19 symptoms, even those less severe, according to the press release.

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