Home Coronavirus Video: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Wednesday Update on the COVID-19 Situation in Virginia

Video: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Wednesday Update on the COVID-19 Situation in Virginia

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See below for the Wednesday update from Gov. Ralph Northam on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia.

  • Northam’s team has fielded 100s of emails with questions about closures that started last night under Executive Order 53.
  • Since yesterday, increase in COVID-19 cases as well as additional deaths. It emphasizes how we’re just at the beginning of this…we’re talking about months, not weeks, and we’re going to unfortunately see these numbers continue to rise. Will continue to work on measures to contain the spread of this virus and to make sure that the medical system is prepared.
  • Medical capacity includes staff, equipment and bed space. Exploring ways to make it easier for qualified medical professionals, and possibly medical students, to help out. Also, will be making better use of the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps – “a force of dedicated volunteers.” More than 8,000 deployable volunteers, and more than 1,500 volunteered just in the past month, with training done online. If you’re interestd in volunteering, go to VAMRC.org
  • Need for PPE is “so so great…literally, in the millions.” Has encouraged postponing elective surgeries to preserve bedspace and equipment, including PPE. Has put in second request to national stockpile for PPE and working to source more from private vendors. States are competing for supplies, so prices from some private vendors have jumped, which is why we need a nationally led response…not the free market to determine availability and pricing.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Virginia is looking at spaces around the state where hospital beds could be added if needed — Virginia is in same Army Corps group as places like New York so those same people would help…Closing state park buildings starting Friday, also working to get more financial benefits to families with SNAP benefits, effective tonight, so that people can make fewer trips to grocery stores.”
  • State epidemiologist: Yesterday, 101 new cases reported for a total of 391 Virginians diagnosed with COVID-19. Also, two more deaths reported yesterday, and three additional deaths this morning.
  • Sec. Finance Aubrey Layne on the new, $2 trillion relief package: Encourages them to pass it promptly and “get the money flowing.” The package offers assurances that people and businesses will be able to cope with the negative impact of this virus. Very encouraged by the comprehensive nature of this stimulus. $250 billion in direct payments to individuals – up to $2,400 for a married couple. An additional $250 billion in enhanced unemployment benefits for up to four months, including “gig” employees. $130 billion for aid to hospitals. $350 billion in loans and aid to small businesses. $500 billion in loans to large businesses, with key oversight provisions. $150 billion in state/local government aid – that will certainly help us mitigate the reduction in revenues Virginia’s expecting due to slowdown/shutdown of business. This is not only a health crisis, it’s an economic crisis. The way to fix the economy is to deal with the health crisis. This stimulus package gives us the opportunity to do that. We need to make decisions based on the medical authorities and not artificial deadlines.
  • Gov. Northam: On press reports about Liberty University, “we have heard too many mixed messages [about COVID-19] and this is yet another example.” Making accommodations for students with special cases is one thing; inviting students to leave their homes and come back to campus is a totally different thing. Liberty needs to respect the duty it has to its students, its staff, the Lynchburg community and the Commonwealth. Suggests that Falwell looks to leadership of Virginia’s flagship universities and reconsider his message inviting students to return to campus.
  • Don’t know what the peak might be, but hope to have more information soon.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Virginia Transportation Sec. Shannon Valentine on tolls: – 8 of the facilities in Va are all electronic – Remaining 8, 2 VDOT owned moving to all electronic, still working to push others to go that way — but says people concerned can order E-ZPass online now or get at grocery. Valentine cites Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel as one of the more challenging spots – but says toll collectors getting gloves, sanitizer and keeping money separated among shifts. Asking for exact change”
  • Working to ensure that healthcare workers are getting the childcare they need.
  • Individuals from NY traveling to VA should “quarantine for 14 days.”
  • Gov. Northam says he does not have the authority to force Liberty University to close, but is asking them to follow the guidelines laid down.