Home Coronavirus Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam COVID-19 Briefing at 2pm

Video, Highlights: Gov. Ralph Northam COVID-19 Briefing at 2pm

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See below for video and highlights from today’s press conference on COVID-19, etc. by Gov. Ralph Northam. The event begins at 2 pm.

  • Gov. Northam says COVID cases continue to rise in almost every region of the state, with sustained community spread. % positivity now at 8.3%, up from 5% a few weeks ago. We are at the highest levels of hospitalizations since the pandemic began.
  • We’re still doing well relative to other states. We’re at 28 cases/100k people, lower than 45 other states. But the #s in states around us are concerning. What happens in other states impacts us. For instance, Tennessee’s lack of a mask requirement and other restrictions has increased the spread of COVID-19 in neighboring Virginia counties.
  • Virginians are spreading the virus in a variety of settings – churches, small social gatherings, etc. Schools and workplaces are largely doing well to follow the requirements. The virus is also spreading in family gatherings.
  • If you don’t wear a mask or social distance and you think your right to ignore public health advise trumps your neighbor’s right to not get infected by you, these cases will just continue to go up. It’s just selfish. Rights are important, but we also need to emphasize responsibility. In some parts of the state, there are no beds in hospitals available, such as Ballad Health in SW Virginia, which announced it will stop all elective surgeries in their hospitals.
  • Northam: We have the right regulations, and we are strengthening enforcement of regulations.
  • We are watching for signs of a post-Thanksgiving surge.
  • Thanks healthcare workers and ICU nurses who are wearing themselves to the bone to take care of sick people, so please think of them.
  • Vaccinations: two companies, Pfizer and Moderna, preparing to roll out their COVID vaccines, and other vaccines are expected in the future. We have every reason to believe that these vaccines are safe. This vaccine does not use a live or attenuated virus. You will NOT get COVID from this vaccine. Confident that all protocols have been followed and no corners have been cut. There will be enough vaccines to get to everybody, but it will take time, so people need to be patient. First people getting the vaccines will be healthcare workers and people in long-term care facilities. Will follow CDC guidelines for vaccine allocation.
  • VDH has been planning for this vaccine for several months. Has developed a detailed distribution plan to get the vaccine out fairly and equitably.
  • Vaccines could start shipping in a couple weeks. Virginia expects to get about 70,000 doses from Pfizer in the first wave. Virginia has partnered with pharmacies, medical offices. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, spaced about three weeks apart. “My family and I will have no hesitancy about getting vaccinated…I strongly encourage every Virginian to get the vaccine; that is our only path to getting back to near normal.”
  • Still need to be careful and take precautions. This isn’t just about yourself; what we all do affects other people. It is foolish to take risks. Be smart and safe.
  • Urging Congress to pass new COVID-19 relief package such as what Sen. Warner and Rep. Spanberger have proposed. Congress shouldn’t leave town without passing a relief package.
  • This is a “strange holiday season” and can be very stressful. Virginia has a “warm line” (877-349-6428) to call if you’re feeling anxious, stressed, etc.
  • “The vaccine news is extremely, extremely hopeful; it is the light at the end of this long and dark tunnel…the only way…to get back to a normal way of life.”
  • Replacement for vacancy on the State Corporation Commission (SCC): Angela Navarro will be appointed in early January.
  • On Campbell County’s “1st Amendment sanctuary” resolution opposing Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 safety guidelines, Northam said he expects law enforcement will be “part of the solution here,” says “we are not the enemy…the enemy is the virus.”
  • We want children to be back in school, so it’s very important to have school staff get access to vaccines.
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