Home Coronavirus Friday 6 P.M. Virginia Coronavirus Update by the Northam Administration

Friday 6 P.M. Virginia Coronavirus Update by the Northam Administration

h/t and thanks to Sen. Scott Surovell for getting the word out.

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Thanks to Sen. Scott Surovell for this update:

***UPDATE FRIDAY, 3/20/20 6:00 P.M.***

Here’s the update I just received from the Administration this afternoon:

  • We have 118 COVID cases in Virginia – 22 Hospitalized & 2 Deaths
  • 2,000+ tests have been done – majority done by LabCorp/Quest
  • UVA, Sentara and MCV are working on testing capacity
  • Labs have a 5-day turnaround right now
  • There is community spread – primary Penninsula but also in NOVA
  • There are likely 2-3 cases in the Roanoke Valley – it’s in all areas of VA now
  • We’re beyond containment and moving into mitigation
  • Several facilities are in lockdown mode and one in quarantine
  • Much testing capacity is being moved into Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities first to avoid casualties
  • We are also attempting to develop our own testing kits instead of being reliant on the CDC
  • The Governor is doing a daily update at 11:00 am every day
  • The Alcohol Beverage and Control Division has implemented emergency measures to allow flexibility to restaurants to continue to serve
  • Administration is working with local jails – issued guidelines regarding incarcerated populations, recommended law enforcement to use summonses instead of arrest warrants when possible, encouraged magistrates and judges to use alternatives to incarceration pending trial
  • Recommended the use 19.2-303 to modify sentences for non-violent offenders presently incarcerated
  • They have suspended all visitation and all transfers to jails or prisons
  • They also have prohibited people from gathering at resturants in groups larger than 10, they have amended the order (governor.virginia.gov/executiveactions) to clearly states it applies to fitness centers, theatres to 10 patrons or less and any willful violation, refusal or neglect is a Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • The Virginia Department of Health put in an order of their share of the strategic stockpile of Personal Protective Equipment when this broke out.  Virginia received 5-10% of what it ordered which represented 50% of the national stockpile.  It’s being issued.  There is a real shortage.
  • The Commonwealth has issued guidance that any retailer who needed an extension to remit sales taxes, such as restaurants, hotels, and tourism companies, could get a 20 day extension upon request.  They did not do a blanket referral because large retailer has already paid.  That has a fiscal impact of $145M and every time we defer we don’t eventually receive it.  About $30M of those dollars would eventually got to localities which will be affected.
  • The Governor also extended the filing of estimated payments from May 1 to June 1.  This deferral will cause a fiscal impact of $100 million – potentially into the next fiscal year which starts July 1.  A longer deferment could trigger larger problems because of the budget year and there’s still uncertainty about federal actions or where the economy is going.
  • It’s been less than 30-days since the all-time high of the DJI and we have now seem a 30% reduction in wealth.  The Secretary of Finance has been on the phone with our rating agencies attempting to assess the impact of all of this.
  • We will need to have our budget forecasting process make new assessments starting in April because right now our revenues are delayed 30 days.  So far we’ve seen a $250 million impact based on our administrative access.
  • Virginia saw 30,871 unemployment claims in the last week – that is significantly higher than any other week
  • Our rating agencies think that compared with National issue, we will see a 13% decline in GDP in the USA.  If the virus behaves as we see it, it will be a 2% reduction and now rebound until Q4 and they see National unemployment at 9% and full employment restored in 2023
  • Our previous recession forecasting (which wasn’t as pessimistic as the reality) was suggesting a $1 billion per year reduction in revenue over the next two years – we are expecting more than that which will require major budget adjustments.
  • Before this our economy was strong in-part because so much of our economy is based upon government spending and generally our current economy is better positioned than other sister states, but this is going to be a significant blow to tourism, restaurants, and small businesses in the Commonwealth.  Rebuilding the economy will be a major focus going forward.
  • Our General Fund is fairly liquid.
  • VRS is still fully funded and capable of making benefit payments.  Going in, they were 75% funded and the reduction will be something we have to address going forward.
  • We have $1.6 billion in reserves to help address this.
  • We are trying to counterbalance our fiduciary responsibility to maintain core functions with business impacts.  One member requested a deferral of all taxes.  That would cost $7.2 billion and is not realistic.\
  • They are working with hospitals, National Guard and FEMA to have possible alternate treatment sites should that become necessary.  They are identifying sites.