Northam: Next phase of reopening at least week away

Posted at 5:03 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:06:32-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says looser restrictions on businesses and social gatherings are still at least a week away.

The governor said at a news conference Thursday that coronavirus-related trends are “encouraging” but more data is needed before the state can start its second phase of reopening.

He said the earliest the state would move into Phase Two would be June 5.

Northam also said the localities that delayed implementing Phase One, northern Virginia, Richmond and Accomack County, might be able to join Phase Two when the rest of the state does "if they're ready."

"If they're comfortable, and again, I'll speak with the leaders in those areas and obviously look at the numbers," Northam said. "But if they're accountable, I would really like to see everybody in Virginia, you know, moving together at the same time."

The governor has previously indicated that the second phase of reopening would allow for social gatherings of no more than 50 people.

He also has said that he would loosen other restrictions during Phase Two, but hasn't provided specific details.

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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.