UPDATE 2:00 pm – Here’s video. Updates below the video…
- The message today is very clear – STAY HOME. Most Virginia are complying, “doing the right thing,” “stepping up.” But clearly, some people still need to hear the message about staying home. Healthcare professionals are putting their lives at risk everyday. But this weekend, some of our beaches and other recreational areas were literall packed…
- “So today I’m announcing a stay-at-home order for all Virginians.” Stay in your place of residence unless you need to get food, supplies, work, medical care or to get fresh air or exercise. Any parties or social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Private campgrounds closed for short-term stays. Beaches closed except for exercising or fishing. All institutions of higher education will cease in-person instruction. If you can work remotely, you need to do so, and companies need to allow that. Don’t got out unless you *NEED* to go out.
- Almost 1/2 of the COVID-19 cases in Virginia are under age 50. Every age group needs to act responsibly and stay home. These orders are necessary to protect public health. Virginia has more than 1,000 confirmed COVID cases, and that number unfortunately will continue to rise. What we’re seeing now is determined by how people acted two weeks ago. Everyone needs to be patient with social distancing, as it will take time to social distancing. Virginia’s hospital have 18,500 licensed beds, of which 2,000 ICU beds. We know we will need more. We are looking at several different models, each one shows different outcomes and timelines. They all show Virginia having a surge in cases requiring hospitalization. We have been trying to run ahead of that surge, make sure hospitals are ready, identify sites for temporary hospital facilities…Army Corps is analyzing that.
- Mary Washington has establshed a field hospital. VCU has identified a student dormitory on campus. In Wise County, Lonesome Pine Hospital has been designated as a COVID care facility.
- Friday night, the federal government agreed to pay for National Guard activities in Virginia. Will apply for federal major disaster status as well. Port of Virginia remains open, so that criticial supplies can get in, prioritizing PPE.
- Food distributions sites have seen a 20%-50% increase in visits during this outbreak. Visit VAFoodBanks.org or call 211 if you need help. Also, domestic violence services still available – call 1-800-838-8238.
- We are at the beginning of a period of sacrifice. This is an unprecedented and difficult time, which is why we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly, and we will get through this together.
- 1,020 confirmed cases, 136 hospitalizations and 25 deaths. Over 12,000 individuals have been tested.
- What’s changed since this past Friday? Northam says he sees people congregating on the beach and completely ignoring what we’re doing. They are being very, very selfish, putting our healthcare providers at risk.
- The penalty for violating 10-person-or-less, stay-at-home orders continues to be the same as previously, very similar to neighboring states.
- Restaurants still can only be open for takeout or delivery. 10 patrons or less, social distancing…language in previous executive order remains in effect.
- Having discussions about May municipal elections. Will have some further guidelines in the next few days, so stay tuned…
- Virginia still can’t test everybody. Problems mostly relate to supply-chain shortages throughout the nation, not just in Virginia.
- Northam does NOT plan to treat different parts of Virginia differently, says the virus does not respect county lines.
- Does the stay-at-home order impact golf courses. Northam says one can go to the golf course and play, but clubhouses have to close.
- How can rural localities hold their meetings, staying in compliance with public hearings laws, etc? Northam recommends contacting the AG’s office.
- Does Virginia track patients to the point of recovery? That varies depending on capacity of local health department and other factors.
- On expedited reviews and parole for vulnerable prisoners, Sec. Brian Moran says that “they are doing a great deal with respect to review,” but by code, “we have no parole in the Commonwealth of Virginia.” So there’s a limited population that can even be reviewed. Also, victims need to be notified and given time to weigh in. Already, the parole board has withdrawn warrants for technical violations on a number of people. Also, parole board has expedited release for those already approved for release, in order to minimize interaction between the parole officer and the parolee. “Frankly, they’re getting a lot of healthcare *in* these facilities.”
UPDATE 1:04 pm – According to the RTD, “Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam will order state residents to remain at home with some exceptions, as the state steps up its effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, a source familiar with the order said. Northam’s order will allow people to leave their homes to seek a wide array of essential services like medical attention, food, banking and more.” That’s good news, as far as I’m concerned, as nobody should be out there treating this like a vacation, having people over their houses for cookouts, going to the beach with a bunch of friends, etc. Or, as one FB friend put it, “Since [some] people can’t follow expert guidance like grownups.”
I’ll add video of the press conference at 2 pm, when it starts, as well as highlights…including what this “major announcement” turns out to be.