Home COVID-19 Video/Live Blog: Gov. Northam Provides Updates on Virginia’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Video/Live Blog: Gov. Northam Provides Updates on Virginia’s Response to COVID-19 Pandemic


See below for video and a live blog of Gov. Ralph Northam’s press conference today at 2 pm, on Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

  • Gov. Northam notes Pfizer, Moderna “good news” on vaccines; could be ready to start rolling out by end of 2020. Virginia has been planning for vaccine distribution “for months…and we will be ready.” “This is wonderful news…gives all of us hope…a light at the end of the tunnel” (albeit “a few months away”). Still, it’s something “to feel hopeful about.”
  • Also good news: Virginia “near the bottom of states” – “fourth from the lowest” – in terms of new cases. In contrast, COVID-19 is surging across the country.
  • Still, we’re seeing “a record number of daily cases” in Virginia. % positive is at 7%, up from 5% a couple weeks ago. All regions seeing increases; greatest concern is in SW Virginia. “I do not intend to wait for things to get worse before taking action; that is why we have put new mitigation measures in place to help slow the spread of this virus.” Strongly discourages Virginians from holding indoor events, certainly with more than 25 people. Socializing virtually is the safest option. Or if you need to be in person, do it outside.
  • Science shows that wearing masks reduces the spread of the virus. It’s “such an easy thing…so please wear a mask.”
  • Strengthening enforcement of COVID-19 guidance. Other states are implementing similar measures, as has the Navy.
  • Everyone’s tired of the pandemic, but we all need to follow the rules to help keep this pandemic under control. Hopefully, just a few months from now, we’ll be past the worst.
  • State budget: today, signed it…it’s very progressive, including provisions to protect Virginians from evictions and utility shutoffs.
  • Praises Virginia National Guard’s role during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • We have both a health crisis and economic crisis. Small businesses continue to struggle. Working to provide assistance through Rebuild VA program. Have approved $55 million in grant payments to small businesses, almost 39% to businesses in low-income communities.
  • Encouraging Congress to pass another stimulus package. Now that election is behind us, Congress needs to get this done – “the sooner the better.”
  • Reminds everyone to get a flu shot. Also, donate blood if you can – go to RedCross.org
  • “Think hard” about you celebrate Thanksgiving. “This year, staying home is an act of love too…so please think about your holiday plans and the risks.” Use Zoom. Do Black Friday shopping online. “College students need to be very careful and thoughtful about how and whether to go home for the holidays.” If you feel sick, stay home. If you need a test, get a test, and stay home while you wait for the results.
  • Talks about enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines, says “we ARE stepping up our enforcement” – a civil penalty starts in March; between now and then, enforcement will be via misdemeanor…encourages people to do the right thing.
  • Why did Northam put out new guidance this past Friday morning? Says he looked at the data, talked to contact tracers, etc. Says he was really affected by seeing mobile morgues outside of hospitals – “we don’t need that to happen in Virginia.” “All options are on the table.” “This is in your hands, Virginia.”
  • Northam says one size doesn’t fit all across Virginia, will let localities and school districts make decisions that make sense for them.
  • Question about possibly imposing stricter guidelines re: the schools. Gov. Northam says he feels we’ve given consistent guidelines re: the schools.
  • On the 25-or-less number for gatherings, Northam says if you look at the data, the chances of getting infected are lower at lower gathering sizes. Northam repeats, “all options are on the table.”
  • On marijuana legalization, Northam says we think Virginia is in a position to move forward with it. “It is an equity issue.” Will look at ways of expunging, restoring rights, etc.
  • How do we pay for COVID-19 vaccination? Northam anticipates Congress and the Biden administration making sure we have the resources we need to get the vaccine out and put the pandemic behind us. Virginia’s revenue is “very promising.”
  • Vaccine should be available for high-risk people by middle to end of December. Working on logistics, including ultra-cold storage facilities. Initial vaccines will go to healthcare workers. As vaccination production ramps up in early 2021, will enter a new phase to start doing mass vaccinations.
  • Northam says it’s “despicable” for anyone to say “let the chips fall where they may,” regarding COVID-19.
  • Dr. Carey says healthcare staff is having challenges, including “frontline ICU nurses…ER nurses.” In this case, we can’t really borrow from another area, since COVID cases are increasing all over the country. There’s a shortage of ICU nurses, etc. all over the country.
  • On restaurant capacity, Gov. Northam said they’re already at a reduced capacity. Says “we follow the data every day, and all options are on the table.” Reiterates that there’s “light at the end of the tunnel,” now need to do the right things the next couple months. We want our children back in school, businesses back open; we’ll get there if we continue to follow the guidelines.

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