Home Coronavirus Video: Gov. Northam’s 11am Press Conference to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccines, Schools, etc.

Video: Gov. Northam’s 11am Press Conference to Discuss COVID-19 Vaccines, Schools, etc.

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See below for video and highlights of Gov. Northam’s press conference today at 11 am, which will discuss COVID-19 vaccination efforts, schools, etc.

  • Gov. Northam says January was a “hard month for COVID cases,” hospitalizations and, “sadly deaths.” But…”those numbers are all trending down,” and that’s something we can be “glad about.” Also, % positivity trending down.
  • These are all good things, but we can’t let down our guard…virus is mutating; first case of South African variant is here in Virginia. Need to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible. Also, stay focused on mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, etc.
  • Made changes to vaccination plans, already bearing fruit. Adjusted inventory management plans, worked with hospitals, gave local health departments clear direction for Phase 1b prioritization, rebuilt data dashboard to be more transparent, etc. All of those changes are allowing us to put more vaccines into more Virginians’ arms faster. We’re pushing vaccines out as fast as possible. Over 9% of population has received at least the first dose – that’s 9th among states. Expect to pass 1 million doses administered this weekend.
  • SW Virginia – which has been hard hit, has an older population – has one of the highest vaccination rates.
  • We still have a long way to go, doesn’t want to “sugarcoat” that. Demand is much larger than supply across the country. We can’t make the vaccine ourselves, but we’re ready as the vaccine supply increases. Virginia received 23% more doses this week than the week before.
  • Significantly expanding the call center to preregister for vaccination. Will be available in English and Spanish; can request a callback in 60 languages. If you already registered, you don’t need to do so again.
  • Good news: Federal government going to start shipping additional to vaccines to pharmacies. CVS will be first pharmacy in the rollout in Virginia. Focusing on stores in reach of those who are more vulnerable. This is only the first phase of federal pharmacy partnership rollout. Also working with other pharmacy chains. Working to make sure it covers as much of Virginia and as many vulnerable Virginians as possible.
  • Pleased that legislature is making getting kids back into schools a top priority. Have always encouraged in-person instruction for students who needed it the most. We’ve seen more data now, suggests schools don’t have the type of rapid spread as in other congregant settings. So “it’s time to find a path forward to in-person learning.” The children have been “champions,” “made sacrifices,” and “so have their families and teachers and school staff,” but it’s “taking a toll” on children and families. Pediatricians seeing increased behavioral problems, mental health issues, substance abuse. Also seeing a decline in academic performance. This has been hard on everyone. But we also know that children learn better in classrooms, “and that’s where they need to be.”
  • Last month, issued guidelines about safely returning to in-person learning. Didn’t say throw open the doors starting tomorrow; said here are the steps you need to take. Also said this NEEDS to happen. Today, saying it needs to start by 3/15. “By that date, I expect every school division to make in-person learning options available in accordance with the guidelines.” Also “need to plan for summer school options…our children need to catch up to be ready for learning in the fall.” Wants schools to do this safely. But “it’s time for this to happen; it’s critical to prevent greater learning loss and to support our children’s health and well being.” The CDC said it’s possible to do this safely. Dr. Fauci said it’s possible to do this safely. President Biden said it’s possible to do this safely. “And we WILL do this safely.”
  • Northam thanks teachers, introduces state teacher of the year, Anthony Swan (teaches 5th grade at Rocky Mount Elementary School in Franklin County), who he’s appointing to the State Board of Education. Swan reiterates what Gov. Northam said, that students need some form of in-person instruction. A lot of students at home on virtual days are not doing the work, then have to “play catchup.” In-person instruction also helps kids with social and emotional needs. Urges educators to get their vaccines so they can serve children in a safe and effective manner.
  • Northam talks about problems people have been having getting unemployment benefits. More than 1 million Virginians have received unemployment insurance in the past 11 months. These benefits are critical for many people. Continue to work to get people back to work. Will continue to have local and statewide job fairs.
  • Gov. Northam wants economy back on track, businesses back in businesses, pandemic in rear-view mirror…
  • Gov. Northam says he will do everything possible to support schools financially.
  • Confident a good majority of teachers will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by mid March or shortly thereafter.
  • To clarify, Northam says that on March 15, options will be in place for in-person education; it’s not that everyone will be back to in-person education on March 15.
  • Dr. James Lane: The expectation is that teachers will be compensated for extended learning, above and beyond their contract. Some school systems will do year-round, some will add time to school day, some will do additional summer school, etc. VDOE will be issuing guidance on how to best make up for student learning loss.
  • Brian Moran talks about efforts to prevent spread of COVID-19 in prisons. The prison population has been reduced from over 29k to about 24k.
  • Gov. Northam says we’re in a race against time to get people vaccinated, to keep the #s as low as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants. So…follow the guidelines and get people vaccinated.
  • Gov. Northam thanks sign language interpreters. Says this weekend is the Super Bowl, knows it’s a tradition to gather, but urges people to keep size of gatherings low, wash hands, etc. The virus is alive and well, this is not the time to let our guard down. Thanks everyone involved in getting us vaccinated.
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