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.

1
Advertisement

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.
There's no paywall on Blue Virginia, and we definitely want to keep it that way! If you want to help support our work, you can donate here - thanks! Also, you can sign up for our weekly email list here.