Home COVID-19 Live Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Wednesday (4/1) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing

Live Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Wednesday (4/1) Virginia COVID-19 Briefing


See below for video of Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 briefing for Wednesday, April 1.

  • The “fundamental message: stay home.” “I know this is difficult…but the sooner we can put this health crisis behind, the sooner our lives will return to normal and the sooner our economy will rebound.”
  • The Executive Order lasts until June 10, unless the situation changes enough for him to lift the order. Virginians “need to know the truth – no sugarcoating.” “I know this is hard…people are isolated…many are out of work.” Strategy has always been, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Virginians should prepare themselves for the long haul – “months, not weeks.” Already thinking about how to land this plane on the backside of the curve, but right now we’re at the beginning of the virus.
  • We need to slow down the virus. The virus can’t live by itself; it needs hosts to survive and spread. Need to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to latch on to a host. Social distancing is a powerful weapon, “so let’s use it.” So…stay at home, only go out when you *need* to, not just when you *want* to.
  • Virginia is working with Army Corps on potential sites for additional hospital capacity. Narrowed down to ExxonMobil facility in Fairfax, next door to INOVA; Hampton Convention Center, close to Riverside Hospital; a site in the Richmond area.
  • Received third shipment of PPE from national stockpile, but we need more. Continue to work all available options for getting more PPE.
  • Upcoming elections – Virginia is scheduled to hold local elections in May and Congressional primaries in June. These are a fundamental democratic event and essential right. Working through the best options to hold these elections. Encourages Virginians to use absentee voting to vote by mail. Elections are vitally important we will ensure that they are held.
  • Dr. Oliver – 1,484 cases (234 new cases since yesterday), 34 total deaths (7 more than yesterday), cluster in NOVA – Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William – and in Central Virginia – Henrico, Chesterfield; and the Peninsula. There are 305 COVID-19 patiens currently hospitalized, 145 COVID-19 patients in ICUs, 108 on ventilator support. There are a number of models in existence. In a few days, can present a model that has Virginia-specific data and will therefore be more accurate for what we expect here in the Commonwealth.
  • Northam: April 1 is Census Day in the United States. It remains vitally important that Virginians fill out the Census forms they received in the mail. Can respond online (2020census.gov), by phone or by mail. All responses are completely confidential and are protected by law.  Currently, more than 40% of households in Virginia have already responded. Only takes 10 minutes.
  • Northam reiterates that all of this is hard on everyone, thanks everyone for the way they are handling the situation. Rent, mortgage payments due today, and for many Virginians, that comes after they have been laid off or furloughed. Encourages those Virginians to apply for unemployment. Suspending evictions for anyone with public housing vouchers. Suspending non-emergency court proceedings through April 26.
  • Also, important religious holiday this month – Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Passover, Ramadan, etc. “I am a man of faith.” Normally, these holidays would be celebrated together. But for the safety of everyone, we need to find other ways to celebrate our faith – online, drive-in services, etc.
  • Yes, we have some people who are not following social distancing rules, and that’s frustrating, but we have so many Virginians who *are*. Front-line workers working every day to help other people. We have people sewing masks, signing up for the voluntary medical corps, etc. If all you are doing is staying home, that in and of itself is a contribution, and I thank you. We are all in this together.
  • Question about homeless people. Cognizant of those challenges, working to secure financing to find places for people who are homeless.
  • How much more PPE do we need? Northam: “We need as much as we can get, bottom line…there’s no such thing as too much.” “We are competing with other countries…other states.” People have stepped up, we still lack the total number we need. We burn through 240 sets of PPE per patient per day.
  • Military and veteran hospitals opening up for surge capacity? Sec. Hopkins: aware of the request, have been in communication with the military hospitals for several weeks, they are engaged in similar exercises – suspending elective procedures, preparing for a surge. They are positioning themselves to provide whatever services they can while serving military/veterans population.
  • From reporter Mel Leonor: “Asked about delaying Virginia’s minimum wage increase, Northam says, ‘I have not made any definite decisions.’ He says ‘there are a number of pieces of legislation’ impacting business that he is looking at and discussing with patrons/advocates.
  • From reporter Max Smith: “On campaigns during a time like this, Northam says we’re in a new day, candidates have to think outside the box, but he’s thankful he’s not running in an election any time soon”
  • From reporter Max Smith:Public Safety Sec Moran: 2 of 41 Va jails particularly impacted now that there are positive tests. Says following CDC guidelines on quarantine & contact tracing. Modified lockdowns at those jails to prevent further #covid19 spread…Va parole board released 96 people on parole in March, significantly more than in February.”
  • From reporter Max Smith: “Sec. Hopkins says initial 41 field hospital sites evaluated were based on where greatest need/stress on hospital capacity could be; also looking at Charlottesville/Roanoke areas starting next week.” Focus right now is on the areas with the greatest number of cases, greatest need…
  • Sec. Moran stresses that we don’t have parole in Virginia. We have great sympathy to people’s families. Doing everything we can to ensure inmates’ safety. State prison inmates are typically more serious crimes, longer sentences. Parole board has released 95 individuals, that reflects seriousness about responding to this crisis.
  • Northam – We’re seeing the most cases in the most densely populated areas of Virginia.
  • Automated testing has helped to double throughput per day for testing. About 2,000 tests in house, expecting more reagents in this week. Northam says the peak of this crisis will likely be in May. Working every day to improve access to both testing and PPE.



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