Governor urges 65+ to self-quarantine: ‘Protect yourselves’

There are now 67 coronavirus cases in Virginia
Posted at 11:33 AM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 18:11:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is urging residents 65 and older to self-quarantine amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Please protect yourselves,” said Northam at a Tuesday morning press conference. "It is important that we make sure older Virginians in this situation can still get food, medicine, and other needs met."

Northam said state agencies, food banks, faith-based organizations, and nutrition organizations are working to coordinate food services.

"Everyone who needs food assistance will get it," Northam stated.

The governor announced the Commonwealth now has 67 coronavirus cases, up from 51 cases on Monday. Nine of those cases are in Central Virginia, which is an increase from five cases on Monday.

Following the recommendations of the Trump administration, Northam said Virginians should limit gatherings to 10 people to restrict the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

He also urged restaurants, gyms, theaters and other businesses to implement a 10-person limit.

"Every single one of us has a personal responsibility in this situation. Every one of us has a role in being part of the solution," said Northam.

For example, Northam urged Virginians not to go to St.Patrick's Day parties.

"If you do, you are literally putting others at risk," he said.

"Our strategy must focus on mitigating and slowing down the spread on this virus so that our medical system has more time to prepare for the increased pressure that this will put on it," Northam explained.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver says they expect results for 48 tests in the state lab and there are also private lab tests they are awaiting on as well.

Oliver says Virginia is in the second phase of states that will be getting drive-thru test sites from the federal government.

He went on to say that the state is ramping up testing capabilities in the days and weeks ahead.

Oliver explained the majority of non-travel-related cases are linked to other cases, some of these new cases are examples of community spread, meaning officials don’t know where the individual got sick from.

He says the cluster cases on the Peninsula shows importance of social distancing.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

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 reminds individuals to take 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.