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Governor: Virginia hits 10,000-test mark in COVID-19 battle

Posted at 8:15 AM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 17:34:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam said the Commonwealth reached the 10,000-test mark Wednesday after 10,208 tests were processed with 763 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Virginia.

Officials said with the vast majority of those tests were the diagnostic ones for COVID-19.

That metric is one officials have said they have wanted to hit for the first phase of reopening.

The official in charge of ramping up testing said afterward that they hit the 10,000 mark with the more reliable diagnostic or PCR tests alone Tuesday, but that there is a reporting lag from new labs that are on-boarding with the health department’s website.

Another one of those Phase One metrics they hope to hit is increased contact tracing.

Northam said Virginia has committed $58 million from the federal government to hiring over 1200 contact tracers.

And as we’re almost a week into the Phase One reopening for most of the state, Northam was asked a lot about the phased reopening process and moving into Phase Two or potentially regressing backwards f we’ve seen a spike.

The earliest phase two could begin is a week from Friday, but Northam said he has not picked a date to make that decision. He said he will be looking at the same things that allowed phase one to begin.

"Obviously, we're watching every day, the trends and now we're, what, five days into phase one," Northam said. "So, you know, we will continue to watch in the next few days over the weekend and then obviously, you know, with with a few days notice, we will let people know whether we're going to go into Phase Two."

RELATED; CBS 6 anchor Bill Fitzgerald will interview Northam live during the CBS 6 News at 7. Immediately following the on-air interview, CBS 6’s Jake Burns and Cameron Thompson will moderate and Facebook Live Q&A where the Governor will answer your questions. You can submit questions during the Facebook Live or submit them ahead of time here.

Officials also updated the Virginia National Guard’s efforts to do point-prevalence testing at 100 long-term care facilities in Virginia.

It was a goal they set two weeks ago and as of Wednesday, 43 facilities are in some stage of the pipeline of either having been completed or working to schedule a date.

Officials also said of the over 120 guardsmen who have been a part of the testing, four have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been quarantined.

Northam also announced the creation of another work group today, one he says will be tasked with identifying ways to reduce costs and improve access to healthcare for Virginians regardless of where they get their insurance.