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Live Video: Gov. Ralph Northam Updates Us (at 3 pm) on the Coronavirus Situation

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See below for Gov. Ralph Northam’s latest update, starting at 3 pm, of the Coronavirus situation here in Virginia.

  • “This requres every single one of us to act responsibly…We are only as healthy as the people we come into contact with…We are all going to have to make sacrifices and changes to our normal lives.”
  • Gov. Northam just talked to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and is having updates with Virginia General Assembly members 3x per week.
  • A child in Gloucester has tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home.
  • Right now, we have 94 cases of COVID-19, also 19 hospitalizations and two deaths. There are distinct clusters, and there *is* local transmission in Virginia. We have some increased capacity at our state lab to do “a bit more testing.” They now have capacity to run 1,000 tests.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Northam says Virginia is extending prescriptions to cover 90 days worth, limiting copayments and other changes. Medicaid does cover testing/treatment for #Covid_19 Medicaid program expects to make additional changes as things go forward, ensuring people keep coverage” and “Gov. Northam highlighting state guidance issued late yesterday for daycares dss.virginia.gov/cc/covid-19-do Northam says includes steps making it easier to get child care subsidy & increasing reimbursement for absence days.”
  • People in correctional facilities are concerned about spread of COVID-19 in those confined locations. Visitation has been suspended, as is accepting inmates from local jails. Looking at alternatives to incarceration…asking judges/prosecutors to consider modifying sentences for low-level offenders. Need to protect inmates and also law enforcement personnel.
  • This situation has economic impacts. As of yesterday, 10k unemployment claims received. Taking steps to ensure that Virginians who have lost jobs can apply for unemployment compensation without 1-week waiting period. The Small Business Administration has just approved Gov. Northam’s Virginia disaster declaration. Extention of due date for payment of Virginia income taxes…to June 1. Also, from reporter Max Smith: “Virginia Finance Sec. Layne: Virginia tax returns will still be due May 1, but payment date is being pushed back. Your due date won’t be until Jun 1, but until Gen Assly adopts proposed change in veto session, interest could accrue”
  • Directing state police to suspend enforcement of motor vehicle inspections for the next 60 days.
  • There is community transmission – “infectious diseases do not respect boundaries.” “Our health is in your hands.” “If you’re sick enough to seek testing, you’re sick enough to stay home.” Even those with mild illness can transmit the disease.
  • Looking at options for the “Reconvene Session” and also for boards and commissions.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Virginia is developing its own tests that would mean no longer need CDC reagents and supplies that are backordered”
  • On letter from Lt. Gov. Fairfax requesting more aggressive action, Gov. Northam says he receives a LOT of input from individuals, takes it all into consideration, and then after discussions with staff makes decisions that are in the best interest of Virginia every day.
  • On extending timeframe for closure of schools, etc., Gov. Northam says it’s a “fluid situation” and will take action if he needs to do so.
  • Finally, Gov. Northam’s press conference today was postponed from 11 am until 3 pm so that people could hear the president’s press conference, but tomorrow he will be here at 11 am.