Unemployment claims mount in Virginia

The Old Dominion has 2,407 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections with 390 in the hospital and 52 deaths.

With millions of Americans out of work and filing for unemployment because of the Coronavirus pandemic, those seeking help in Virginia have overwhelmed a system that needs quick updates and expansion.

“This is overwhelming out unemployment system. People have had issues with our website,” Gov. Ralph Northam told his news briefing Friday.

Northam says he wants the Virginia Unemployment System website updated immediately to handle its online claims filing system. He also says server capacity needs expansion and wants a 20 percent increase is the call center staff.

William Walton, director of unemployment insurance for the Commonwealth, says an outside contractor is coming in to handle some of the call load.

Small business owners report problems when they contact some banks about loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA), saying the need more time to make their systems work with the program that was authorized by the emergency legislation passed by Congress and signed into law last weekend.

“It ‘s not working yet,” said one frustrating business owner who said the operation owned by he and his wife is closed and out of funds. “They say they hope to start making loans ‘soon’ but haven’t been more specific that that.”

The IRS says it plans to start sending out direct deposits of payments to taxpayers, starting April 9. An original requirement that Social Security recipients who do not earn enough to file or pay taxes to fill out a new “short form” was waived after a flood of complaints from members of Congress who said it was not necessary and would delay funds to those who might need it most.

Virginia’s coronavirus outbreaks reached 2,407 in the count released Saturday morning by the Virginia Department of Health, with 390 hospitalized and 52 deaths. At least 21,552 in Virginia have been tested.

Among infections, Floyd and Patrick Counties remain two localities with no confirmed cases of the virus. Franklin County has 10, Montgomery County 6 and Carroll County shows 1. Roanoke City has 10, Roanoke County 5 and Salem 1. Pulaski County reports 1 and Wythe County 2.

Elswwhere in the Old Dominion, Northern Virginia has 18 cases, he Eastern are 16, Central region 12, Southwestern Virginia 3 and the Northwest 3.

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