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3 straight days of fewer new coronavirus cases is a Virginia first

Gov. Northam and federal officials have indicated they want to see a 14-day trend of declining cases

Coronavirus testing swabbing
Coronavirus testing swabbing (AP)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – For the third straight day Virginia health authorities are reporting a drop in the state's number of new coronavirus cases.

Numbers released Monday by the Virginia Department of Health show 453 new coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 8,990. The death toll increased from 277 to 300.

[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The health department’s interactive map]

The drop in new cases marks the first time since the virus arrived in Virginia that the state has reported three consecutive days of declines since the first case was reported on March 7, 2020.

Northam and federal officials have indicated they want to see a 14-day trend of declining cases before phasing in an end to the restrictions on businesses that Northam imposed in a series of executive orders to fight the spread of the virus.

Also Monday, the Virginia Department of Corrections said it is stepping up coronavirus testing at state prisons. Every inmate and staff member at Deerfield Correctional Center in Capron, which houses a large number of older and disabled inmates, will be tested for the virus. Testing at Deerfield alone will require 1,600 test kits, officials said.

The state health department was sending staff into prisons Monday to facilitate the increased testing.

So far, more than 400 inmates have been tested, according to the Department of Corrections. Of those, 116 inmates have active COVID-19 cases, and 50 staff have active COVID-19 cases.