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Northam expected to detail plan to reopen Virginia

Posted at 9:31 AM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 14:14:14-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam is expected to detail his administration’s plans to begin reopening Virginia and ease some of the COVID-19 related restrictions.

CBS 6 will carry the news conference live on-air and online.

“On Monday, we'll talk more about what our phase one will look like,” said Northam at his last news conference on Friday. “Everyone wants to know what comes next. We will talk more about that on Monday. But, here are a few things to keep in mind. When other states talk about going to their phase one of reopening look closely at what that means, you'll find their phase one looks a lot like where Virginia is right now. For example, some state's phase one opens beaches to exercise. We've had that from the start.”

Northam has said the reopening of Virginia would be in phases and his decision to begin and move through those phases will be driven by data and science. He has said the earliest he hoped the reopening process could begin was May 8.

May 7 at 11:59 p.m. is when his Executive Order 53 is set to expire. Northam had extended the order, which has closed many non-essential businesses since 11:59 p.m. on March 24, past its original expiration date of April 23.

Prior to his 2 p.m. news conference, the administration is also holding one at noon to detail what data they are looking at to inform their decisions.

“There's a lot of data that we're taking into account and, as I've said all along, we're going to do this responsibly and I'm going to do it to keep Virginians safe,” Northam said Friday.

Northam laid out in his “Forward Virginia” blueprint that the state needs to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines to begin phase one of the reopening process. That includes sufficient hospital capacity and supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) and a 14-day decline in both the hospitalization rate and the percentage of positive tests.

Northam has also said he wants the state to be able to process up to 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day and have a robust contact tracing operation in order to track down and isolate new cases.

As of Monday morning, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported 19,492 cases of COVID-19. This is an increase of 821 from Sunday.
122,788 tests have been reported. This is an increase of 3,723 from Sunday.

684 people have died from the virus. This is an increase of 24 from Sunday.

There have been 239 outbreaks of COVID-19 across Virginia. This is an increase of 5 from Sunday. The majority of outbreaks continues to be in long-term care facilities, a total of 140 Monday.

In terms of the impact of COVID-19 cases on Virginia’s hospitals, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported Monday that X patients are currently hospitalized. This is a decrease of X from Sunday.

2,547 people have been treated and discharged from hospital. This is an increase of 50 from Sunday.

5,017 beds are available in the state. This is a decrease of 170 from Sunday.

20% of ventilators in the state are in use. This is unchanged from Sunday.

VHHA also reported no hospitals are “experiencing difficulty in obtaining or replenishing PPE [personal protective equipment] in the next 72 hours”, and no hospital is “experiencing difficulty in obtaining or replenishing other medical supplies in the next 72 hours”.

For a further breakdown of the current COVID-19 numbers in Virginia, click here.

Depend on CBS 6 News and WTVR.com for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.