Coronavirus Updates: Remdesivir first treatment authorized by the FDA to battle COVID-19; More than 18,000 cases of the virus and 44 new deaths

Amelia Heymann

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Here’s the latest on the coronavirus pandemic for May 3, 2020:

The Virginia Department of Health reported 18,671 cases of COVID-19 — 17,873 confirmed and 798 probable — Sunday. As testing ramps up in Virginia, we should expect these numbers to continue to rise.

At this time, 660 people have died in Virginia from COVID-19 — 44 since yesterday. More than 2,600 people have been hospitalized with the virus.

Virginia Hospitals and Healthcare Association reported that 2,497 people with the virus have been released from the hospital.

The VDH and VHHA do not report recoveries.

COVID-19 cases in Virginia

COVID-19 CASESTOTAL CASESDEATHSCharles City County131Chesterfield County55724City of Colonial Heights545City of Hopewell250City of Petersburg332City of Richmond36415Goochland County784Hanover County13212Henrico County898102New Kent County231Powhatan County140Information from the Virginia Department of Health

Latest coronavirus headlines:

Northam: Chesterfield County to receive a Critical Care Decontamination System from FEMA

Gov. Ralph Northam made an announcement on Saturday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving Virginia three Battelle Critical Care Decontamination Systems this week — one of which will go to Chesterfield County.

“An ongoing, stable supply of PPE is key to moving Virginia forward from the COVID-19 pandemic,”  Northam said. “This innovative new technology will extend the life of critical PPE like N95 masks, giving our medical facilities and first responders greater access to much-needed supplies and helping the Commonwealth manage our resources amid a nationwide shortage.”

The announcement said these systems can collectively sterilize up to 240,000 units of personal protective equipment a day, which will help address the national shortage of PPE and protect healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full story here.

Remdesivir becomes the first treatment authorized by the FDA to battle COVID-19

 The Federal Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for remdesivir, making it the first treatment authorized to fight COVID-19.

An announcement from the University of Virginia said the authorization clears the use of remdesivir for hospitalized adults and children with severe cases of COVID-19 — such as patients on ventilators.

The drug was originally developed by Gilead Sciences to fight ebola. Virginia Commonwealth University said the way remdesivir works is it slows the infection of healthy cells is by mimicking the appearance of part of the virus and infiltrating the enzyme viruses can use to replicate themselves.

UVA and VCU have both been conducting clinical trials of the drug.

Trial results from UVA show the drug helped patients with advanced cases of the novel coronavirus recover 31 percent faster than patients who did not receive it. In addition, the median recovery time for patients who received remdesivir was 11 days and 15 days for people who got a placebo.

Gilead Sciences said its goal is to have millions of doses available by the end of the year.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus pandemic

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