RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia officials said the Commonwealth could receive more than $3 billion from the $2 trillion coronavirus financial rescue bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump Friday.
"Under the preliminary direct payments to us, it's about $3.3 billion between now and Dec. 31," Aubrey Layne, Virginia Secretary of Finance, said during a Friday news briefing.
Layne said $1.8 billion would come directly to the state, but the additional $1.5 billion would go cities and localities across the Commonwealth.
"And in each locality over 550,000 [people], I think at least Fairfax qualifies for that, they will be able to access additional monies through this act," Layne said.
Layne noted that the funding cannot be used to offset revenue loss or for other expenditures, but must be spent on coronavirus virus-related initiatives and public health.
With the state likely facing a massive budget shortfall because of COVID-19, Layne said the planned raises for state workers "are conditioned on the revenues generated at the state level."
As a result, Layne said those raises "will depend on the revenue."
"As the governor mentioned, we're looking through those projections and how this is going to impact us going forward," Layne said.
Coronavirus deals one-two financial punch to state budgets
The coronavirus is pounding state governments with a financial one-two punch, costing them millions to try to contain the disease just as businesses are shutting down and tax revenue is collapsing.
The sharp drop in revenue could jeopardize some states' ability to provide basic services.
States ranging from tiny Rhode Island to California, with the world's fifth-largest economy, have warned that many programs are likely to face cuts or even elimination.
Many states are blowing through the multi-billion dollar rainy day funds they built up after the end of the Great Recession.
Trump signs $2.2 trillion stimulus after swift congressional votes
A financial rescue bill signed by President Donald Trump worth an unprecedented $2.2 trillion will support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.
As he signed the bill Friday, Trump declared it “will deliver urgently needed relief.”
He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans “first” with the rapid bipartisan action.
The House passed the legislation earlier Friday by voice vote.
The legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks.
Treasury Secretary: Workers could get direct deposits in 3 weeks
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin acknowledges surging unemployment numbers and declining GDP as 1 in 3 Americans remain under government orders to stay at home to slow the coronavirus that has killed over 2,000 Americans.
Mnuchin tells “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation” that his top focus is getting stimulus money from the just-passed $2.2 trillion aid package from Congress immediately into the hands of workers and businesses.
He said American workers will get direct deposits of money in three weeks, while a federal program aimed at helping half the workforce by encouraging small business to take out loans to hire back their workers for eight weeks will be up and running by Friday.
He said the stimulus package should help keep the economy and workers afloat for 10 weeks, and if more time is needed to stem the coronavirus, the administration will assess what else is needed at that time.
Virginia reports 890 COVID-19 cases, 110-plus hospitalizations and 22 deaths
Health department officials said 151 more people tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 1,433 people tested since Saturday's update. That brings Virginia's total number of cases to 890.
Officials said 112 people remain hospitalized and 22 people have died as a result of COVID-19-related illnesses.
Officials are investigating "distinct clusters" where there is "local transmission" of the virus in Virginia.
Those clusters include 187 cases in Fairfax County, 84 in Arlington County, 72 in Prince William County, 70 in James City County, 61 in Loudon County 49 in Virginia Beach and 40 in Henrico County.
New cases were reported Sunday in Alleghany, Greenesville, Manassas Park, Roanoke City, Tazewell and Wythe.
"We do not have a medicine for COVID-19. We do not have a vaccine for COVID-19," Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver previously said. "The only thing we have to prevent the spread of this disease is social distancing, so we need to all do that."
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.