Home COVID-19 Live Video: Gov. Ralph Northam Holds Bilingual Press Conference on COVID-19, etc.

Live Video: Gov. Ralph Northam Holds Bilingual Press Conference on COVID-19, etc.


See below for video and highlights from Gov. Northam’s Thursday 2 pm press briefing.

  • Gov. Northam – “I‘m holding a bilingual #COVID19 briefing in Northern Virginia.”
  • Says he’s stepped out of the usual routine to hold the briefing in Northern Virginia (Fairfax County) today.
  • Will talk about what we’re doing to help Latino communities fight this virus.
  • Not entering Phase 3 this week, need to keep looking at/evaulating the data. But people do need to plan, so here’s what Phase 3 looks like. Still safer at home. Still encourgae teleworking, social distancing, face coverings in indoor public spaces. Social gatherings may include up to 250 people. Cap on capacity for non-essential retail will be lifted; also for restaurants and beverage services. Entertainment venues can open at 50% capacity, with cap of 1,000 people. Gyms and fitness centers up to 75% of capacity. Child care facilities can be open. Overnight summer camps will still be closed. Swimming pools at 75% of capacity with physical distancing. Face coverings still required in indoor public spaces. We all need to wear face coverings and wear them properly.  We are not moving to Phase 3 yet. Our health data is positive. We are also monitoring other states. Going to be cautious and careful before we move forward.
  • Speaks weekly with other governors. There have been surges in other states that have eased restrictions prematurely. Emphasizes that just b/c something is allowed doesn’t mean it’s required. Businesses to not HAVE TO open. Just because there are more places to go doesn’t mean you HAVE TO go there. Consider where you have to go, not just want to go. While data is good, virus has not gone anywhere. We are adapting our lives around it, but it has not changed. Keep using commonsense, wash hands frequently, maintain social distancing.
  • Even more important to acknowledge the different impact of COVID-19 on different communities, including Latinos. Latinos make up 35% of hospitalizations, even though they make up just about 10% of Virginia’s population. Clearly, they are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. They are also more likely to be uninsured and work in jobs that put them at higher risk of getting the virus. These problems are compounded in the undocumented population. Working to expand Spanish-language communications. Directing free community testing events to areas with large Latino populations. Health equity working group is tracking the data, working to connect with communities that are at greater risk, using health equity lens to make decisions. Medicaid giving non-citizens additional time, if needed, to document immigration status when they apply for coverage. Getting you tested and cared for is our priority; not checking papers, just want to help families be safe and healthy.
  • Commends PW County for ending its 287g program. Hopes this will set a new tone of trust with Latino communities. Applauds Supreme Court ruling to extend DACA protections. DACA recipients have built their lives here and make this a better Commonwealth.
  • It is critical we reach people where they live. We know this virus is having a disproportionate impact on black and Latino Virginians. We are working to reduce these disparities.
  • Dr. Sergio Rimola – Thanks Gov. Northam for his leadership. Speaks in Spanish.
  • Fairfax County Board Chair Jeff McKay – Thanks governor for recognizing disproportionate impact the virus has had on people of color. Says they’ve recognized that in Fairfax since day #1. Now averaging over 9,200 tests per week in Fairfax, relying on community partners, the state, private providers, etc. More than 25 sites in Fairfax offer testing- all have testing capacity now. County targeting testing into communities that are most vulnerable, based on data. Have resources to guide people going forward, including “vital” contact tracing. In Fairfax, have had 250 contact tracers since March…the most of any health district in Virginia. May hire up to 400 contact tracers for up to a year. Tracers live in the community, reflect the demographics of the populations they are serving. Also looking at this issue holistically. Multilingual call center if you need assistance (703-222-0880). To recover from health crisis, must also recover economy. $25 million into small business grant program. Board feels strongly that disproportionately of this virus impacts all residents of county. Look forward to continuing to work closely with the governor to move forward to recover from this pandemic, attacking it from every angle.
  • Fairfax Supervisor Dalia Palchik – speaks in Spanish. Says Latino community impacted disproportionately. Palchik tweeted earlier, “I will deliver remarks in Spanish, speaking directly to the Latinx community, offering health resources to slow the spread of COVID-19 and economic support to the most vulnerable.”
  • Northam asked about why he came to Fairfax today. Northam – what people are witnessing is Virginia’s greatest strength, which is diversity. Want to welcome people. Also, this virus has disproportionately impacted people of color, and we want to make sure we’re taking care of all Virginians. Need to make sure everyone has PPE, testing, tracing capabilities. Met prior to this with local leaders, community leaders, will take these ideas back to Richmond. This virus is still there, need to do everything we can to keep all Virginians safe and healthy.
  • Question about UVA model. Northam – we look at the models, also look at the data. We must all be vigilant, pay attention to the models, also what’s going on in other states. Wants to make sure everyone knows we’re taking this seriously, continue to ask that people follow guidelines. If we have a resurgence in Virginia, we have prepared for that with PPE, prepared to do more testing…
  • Question about how experience of other states is impacting what we do in Virginia. Northam mentions what we’re doing with restaurants. Cites case in Florida of people going into a bar, not wearing mask, and all of them got sick. This virus is very contagious, even if you can’t see it. Look at what’s going on in other states. We’ve really got to take our time in getting back to “near normal.” Doesn’t appear that heat and humidity is making this virus go away, given that states in the southern part of the country are seeing increases in cases.
  • Question about how much PPE has gone to low-income communities. Dr. Janice Underwood, Chief Diversity Officer – health equity working group partnering with several low-income communities – Richmond, Harrisonburg, Chesapeake, Fairfax, PW County. Ongoing partnerships with Galax, Emporia, and others.
  • Northam – If there are areas in community that need something, please work with your elected officials; we have an open line of communication.
  • Question about jobs. Northam says we’re always looking for business opportunities. Need to get the health crisis behind us to recover the economy, but there are businesses expanding and looking to come to Virginia.
  • Best guess for when Phase 3 will start? June 26 will be the earliest…as soon as we can do it safely and responsibly.
  • Question on Robert E. Lee statue hearing this morning. Northam – reiterates his decision to take down that statue and put it into storage. It’s been in the court system for the last 10 days. We’ll remove it as soon as we get through the court system.


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