Northam says fight against COVID-19 is far from over: ‘It’s not going away’

Posted at 1:01 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 13:34:49-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam, Mayor Levar Stoney, and City Council President Cynthia Newbille, were joined by Health Director Dr. Danny Avula to tour the grounds of a walk-up testing event in Creighton Court Tuesday.

The 1810 Creighton Road testing location is one of three walk-up testing events happening in Richmond public housing communities in the week.

The plan was to test about 100 uninsured or underinsured Creighton-area residents, experiencing COVID-19 symptoms Tuesday.

"This is an intentional attempt to ensure that every individual possible, particularly those that are under-resourced, those that are uninsured, have the same access to testing as everyone else," said Mayor Stoney.

Officials said 13 out of the 14 deaths COVID-19 related deaths in Richmond city are African Americans.

"It has disproportionately impacted African Americans and other people of color," said Council President, Newbille.

But she said testing sites like the one in Creighton Court, were a step in addressing that.

"Bring into the community -- not dependent upon whether or not you have a car, or dependent upon whether you have insurance, not dependent upon whether you can pay -- that is our greatest weapon," Newbille said.

But according to Governor Northam the fight against the virus is far from over.

"Just the numbers today I'm sure you all have seen them -- over 800 new cases in Virginia, 34 additional deaths. It’s not going away," said Northam

He said the state has been able to ramp up testing to more than 4,000 a day, but more tests still need to be done in order to ease any restrictions.

"In order to know where this virus is, where the hotspots are, we have to continue to expand that and our goal in the next couple of weeks is to be able to test over 10,000 a day," Northam said.

Mayor Stoney compared locating those hotspots to shadowboxing.

"We know that the enemy is in the room, we just don’t know where the enemy is. Testing allows us to unshield and unmask the enemy... that being the novel-coronavirus," Stoney said.

Another testing site is set to open in Gilpin Court on Calhoun Street Thursday, weather permitting.

Health Director Dr. Danny Avula said the plan was to have additional sites available for the community the following week as well.