Home COVID-19 Video: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Friday (3/27) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing

Video: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Friday (3/27) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing


See below for video of Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 briefing for Friday, 3/27.

  • We continue to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, and could see that for weeks to come.
  • “Virginians, you need to stay at home…That is the only way to slow the spread of this virus…for the next few weeks, at a minimum”
  • “If we don’t stay home…we will see our hospitals overwhelmed. It is up to each and every one of us to do our part…”
  • Call 2-1-1 if you need social safety net services.
  • We have 604 cases, 93 of which (16%) are in the age range of 20-29 years. This doesn’t only affect the elderly, it affects all of us.
  • On testing and PPE, Gov. Northam said we do not have enough testing materials and personal protective equipment for our medical staff and our first responders. Our country needs a national solution. Was on a call yesterday with President Trump, VP Pence and governors around the country. Calling on the Trump administration to set up a federal testing site specifically for the DC, MD and VA area. We have critical agencies that must continue to operate.
  • Right now, states are bidding against each other for PPE, etc. Need Trump to use the Defense Production Act. Corporations are stepping up. But this really has to be solved at the national level.
  • Working to identify sites to use if/when we need extra hospital bed capacity. Virginia’s National Guard is helping to move supplies and do other emergency logistics. Is ready if they are called upon for further support.
  • Recognizes everyone serving the public right now on the front lines…at hospitals, in grocery stores, truck drivers, etc. Also reminds everyone about the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (VAMRC.org). “I am so proud of Virginians.”
  • Trump planning to visit Norfolk this weekend to see off the U.S.M.S. Comfort, which will be deployed to NY. “I know Virginians have always answered the call.” “We are proud Virginia can help NY in any way.”
  • Latest #s: 604 cases of COVID-19 (144 new cases since yesterday), 14 deaths. These numbers will now be updated at 9 am every day. Thanks VPM for streaming these briefings. Thanks media for their work keeping the public informed.
  • The National Guard could be deployed without federal funding. Has requested federal funding to reimburse for National Guard operations.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Va. Health Sec Carey says have to focus on slowing spread, but are in contingency planning for how might handle things getting worse”
  • Also from reporter Max Smith: “Northam: ‘Very realistic’ for a federal testing site to be setup in DC area. Challenges in supply chain for swabs, reagent. Happy that testing is at least expanding somewhat at this point. State lab still turning tests faster than private labs.”
  • Looking at CARE Act regarding how many resources will flow into Virginia. Will help inform what to do with the budget moving forward.
  • Secretary Moran: We can achieve social distancing in the ABC stores.
  • Sec. Layne: How much might Virginia expect to get from the CARE Act? About $3.3 billion between now and the end of the year – $1.8 billion will come directly to the state. The additional $1.5 billion will go to cities/localities in the Commonwealth. On budgeted pay raises, that will depend on/be contingent on sufficient revenues…currently looking at projections to see how this situation will impact Virginia going forward.
  • Sec. Carey says there’s testing going on, but it isn’t fast enough. Hopeful that commercial labs can improve turnaround times. UVA, VCU, Sentera, etc. are standing up their own testing capabilities. The positive rate is only about 7%-8%. Testing availability and turnaround time is key to understand where the disease is and how to prevent it.
  • On juvenile detention centers, Sec. Moran says kids are being screened every 72 hours, “some extreme measures are being adopted…appropriate measures.” Not accepting any further inmates. Education has stopped for juvenile inmates.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Va. Health Sec Carey on report VCU reopening closed hospital site – says state, health systems, Army Corps, National Guard are all involved in planning for expansions of bed capacity & how to support + how to use FEMA/Natl Guard to build out extra space…It’s not just space, it’s also materials, protective equipment and staff. Feds say there’s no reservoir of staff to count on. Have to support all current healthcare workers and try to mobilize others to be called upon through things like volunteers.”
  • From reporter Mallory Noe-Payne: “A theme in today’s Virginia COVID press conference… Reporters: Do we have hospital capacity? When will infections peak? Is there enough protective equipment? Officials: Those answers will all be determined by whether or not people STAY. AT. HOME.”
  • The state lab is in active communication with military installations in the state. Working with them on testing…if they need testing at the state level, we will provide them with testing kits, etc. State lab has capacity to test about 1,800 patients. Hope to be able to expand that in the next week or so. Current test, approved by CDC, has to be done manually. Have looked into instrumentation to process larger batches of tests at a single time, more automated. Supply chain issues are a major challenge.
  • Construction/maintenance of highways is considered an essential process. Half of VDOT personnel are teleworking, the rest are working on critical projects across Virginia…under very strict guidelines for social distancing, hygiene, etc.
  • Any more shutdowns or restrictions being considered? Gov. Northam says this is a very dynamic situation and is continually monitoring, will make modifications if needed…but for now, nothing has changed. Why not issue a stay-at-home order? Gov. Northam says “we’re talking semantics here,” clearly he’s stated people need to stay at home.
  • Why isn’t he wearing a necktie? Because they harbor infectious pathogens.



Sign up for the Blue Virginia weekly newsletter

Previous articleVideo: Virginia’s U.S. Representatives Speak on the CARES Act Leading Up to Historic House Vote [UPDATE: CARES Act Passes]
Next articleAG Mark Herring Urges Trump Administration to Suspend Efforts to Rewrite Policy on Title IX