'Be smart' over Labor Day weekend to avoid COVID-19 cases surge, Virginia governor warns

'Stay safe so we can keep moving forward heading into fall'
Posted at 7:45 PM, Sep 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 19:49:11-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam urged Virginians to be smart when it comes to preventing the spread of the coronavirus over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

"Stay safe so we can keep moving forward heading into fall," Northam posted on Twitter Saturday morning. "We saw surges in COVID-19 cases in the weeks following Memorial Day and July 4th in Virginia and across the country––we don’t want to repeat that as summer draws to a close."

Scores of folks -- like Ryan Ten and his mother -- flocked to the James River Saturday to take advantage of the sunny and less humid weather.

"She’s got the day off from work so we just decided to come down here and check out Belle Isle," Ten said. "If you get the shade, [it] feels like fall, perfect for Labor Day."

Earlier this week, Northam said that COVID-19 is "moderately contained" in the Commonwealth, but that he was not ready to make any changes to current restrictions on gatherings.

He urged Virginians to stay safe by following CDC guidelines like wearing a mask or face covering and by practicing social distancing.

“If it’s a lot of people, I keep it on," Ten said about his mask. "Same with her, obviously to be safe, wear mask."

Most people our WTVR CBS 6 crew spotted along the river were practicing social distancing.

Many said they were opting to stay close this holiday weekend.

“We’re just going to stay where we live in the cul-de-sac and do a socially-distanced get together with the neighborhood," Ten said. "Something simple, but something fun."

But others said they had traveled to the area to spend time with family.

“We’re visiting my dad and we’re just walking around and stuff and we’re going to go in the river," Helen Atkinson said.

"Just cautious but like I’m not going to be around to many people. I’m not too worried about it, but I don’t want to catch it,"

Madison Parker said she is being cautious.

"I’m not too worried about it, but I don’t want to catch it," she said. "I’m not going to be around too many people."

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.