Home Coronavirus Video, Live Blog: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Update on COVID-19 Situation in Virginia

Video, Live Blog: Gov. Ralph Northam’s Update on COVID-19 Situation in Virginia

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See below for video and highlights from Gov. Northam’s update on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia.

  • Update on COVID-19 and will “celebrate some good news.” Total # of cases dropped through June, rose again in July, then reduced it but trend line up again over last couple weeks. Testing #s ranging from 15k to 20k per day, % positivity just below 7%. “Overall, Virginians are doing a good job keeping this curve flat.” Breaks it down by region as well. Cases trending up in SW Virginia…better in eastern region than in July. “I hope you are encouraged by these #s…I know that I am”; but this virus is “alive and well” and we have to be “vigilant”; coronavirus “moderately contained,” “continue to watch it very closely” and monitor the data. “We’re not going to make any changes before Labor Day.” “Now is the time to double down on what we know is working.”
  • “We are headed in the right direction.” Exposure notification app, COVIDWISE, is performing well…>460k Virginians have downloaded it in four weeks. Many Virginians have used it. If you haven’t already done so, download the app for free. Testing also working well throughout Virginian. “So we’re moving forward in lots of ways.” State labs have started conducting antibody/serology tests. Now we have a different challenge – not as many people showing up to get tested. “If you believe you need a test, get a test.”
  • “If you are a teacher and there’s a high chance you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home until you get the results, even if you don’t have symptoms.” Despite recent changes in CDC guidelines, Virginia will continue to encourage that those who need testing get it.
  • The rest of the government is moving forward too. Have sent firefighters to help fight fires in TX, CA, AZ. Long Bridge project advancing, hope to have more news soon for this important transportation project. At DMV, still best to renew driver’s license/registration online; extending for an additional 60 days the validity of licenses due to expire October 31. Preparing for Election Day. Shortage of poll workers; need people who are not considered at high risk to work at polls. You can apply at vote.virginia.gov. Important to fill out Census forms. We have the 7th-highest return rate in country; deadline is September 30 – can fill out forms online or by mail. Over 80% of households have been counted so far. This determines where billions of dollars go. Several speakers emphasize the crucial importance of Virginians responding to the Census…one more month to go! Each person not counted costs Virginia about $2,000 per year.
  • Northam: Be careful this Labor Day weekend. Large gatherings still not a good idea. Maintain social distancing. We’ve now lived with the virus for two seasons, and it’s still with us…
  • On colleges/universities, there are “concerning numbers” of positive cases. State has provided specific guidelines and watching it very closely. Expecting colleges/universities to follow their plans. If necessary, will intervene and make changes, but we really want scholars to be back on campus and learning.
  • Question on paid quarantine bill. Gov. Northam says he’s following what the General Assembly is doing, when the bills get to his desk, he’ll take a look at them. Commends General Assembly for the work it’s doing.
  • Question on specific target levels to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Northam – this virus is still out there, “alive and well,” “very very contagious,” so isn’t prepared to make any significant changes to restrictions in Virginia as a whole. “We have come too far to go back.” Being cautious. Reminds everyone of spikes after Memorial Day and July 4th. “We’re still not close to where we need to be to ease restrictions…people need to continue to be vigilant..it’s in our hands, it really is…we can get this virus under control…but it’s going to take the cooperation of everybody…We could get this under control very easily if we all did the right thing.”
  • Anything Northam would have done differently? Says no sense playing “Monday morning quarterback,” will just continue to work to move Virginia forward.
  • Northam: This pandemic has impacted people of color substantially. This press conference is in Spanish as well. Encourages everyone to pay attention to testing sites around the state, including many in communities of color.
  • Northam – “get your flu shot.” Working with hospitals to make sure they have critical care capabilities. Can’t predict exactly where things will go as we move into the flu season. If we get a bad flu season on top of COVID-19, we’re going to have some real challenges.
  • Question on COVID-19 in correctional facilities. Northam says they’re actually making a lot of masks, will make sure they have the PPE they need. “We care about them, they’re a very vulnerable population.”
  • Question on increase of COVID-19 cases in SW Virginia. Northam – when there are hot spots, paying particular attention to those areas. Particular concern in those areas is lack of ICU capability.
  • Question on legislation making parole board votes public. Northam says he’s monitoring that bill, along with many other bills, as will his policy team. Says it’s a “complicated situation.”
  • Almost all DMV offices open, about 10k appointments per day. Tuesday/Thursdays solely devoted to drivers license transaction.
  • Really silly question, by the way, on the virus supposedly being “especially dangerous in Virginia.” Northam answers very diplomatically. 😉 Northam emphasizes the importance of abiding by guidelines. Says every death is a death we don’t want to have happen. Death rates have gotten lower because increased # of cases has been younger people, and they’re not as likely to need hospitalization or to die. Bottom line – “this is a dangerous virus.” Even if you’re “young and invincible,” think of others who are NOT.