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Lawmakers 'shocked' after Gov. Northam, First Lady test positive for COVID-19

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Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-25 18:27:34-04

RICHMOND, Va., — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Governor's Office.

The Democratic governor, according to his office, is not experiencing symptoms. Pam Northam has mild symptoms.

The Northams tested positive after they learned someone who works in the Governor's mansion tested positive for the virus.

Both Governor Northam and the First Lady will isolate for the next 10 days and plans to work in isolation from the Executive Mansion.

Both the Executive Mansion and Patrick Henry office building will be closed for deep cleaning Friday morning.

“COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” Governor Northam said in an emailed statement. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of. We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us—and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians—is to take this seriously.”

Del. Delores McQuinn (D-Richmond) knows firsthand the impacts of the coronavirus. In April, a doctor diagnosed the Democrat and her family with COVID-19.

“There’s still a little after effect lingering like the shortness of breath issue. My husband continues to have really bad headaches at times,” McQuinn told CBS 6 via Zoom. “Eventually, I hope we will get completely through it. For the most part, we are moving on. Life is moving on.”

McQuinn texted Northam writing that she was extremely saddened and praying for his family. She said she was "shocked" to hear the news.

“I said, ‘I know you’re a doctor, but take my advice. Drink plenty of fluids that are especially hot. And make sure you get some rest,’” she recalled.

Attorney General Mark Herring wished the Governor and his wife a speedy recovery.

“They have been there for Virginians during this unprecedented crisis and now it’s our turn to support them during this difficult time,” Herring wrote in a tweet.

Gov. Northam voted in-person at Richmond’s new General Registrar’s office on West Laburnum Avenue on the first day of early voting on Friday, September 18.

“The process, it’s safe. People have masks on. They’re abiding by the guidelines with social distancing,” he told reporters after voting.

Northam also visited the site of a solar energy facility at Anthem Inc. in Mechanicsville after casting his ballot on Friday.

On Tuesday, First Lady Northam traveled to a preschool and elementary school in Northern Virginia.

Del. Danica Roem (D-Prince William) tweeted that she will get tested after coming in contact with First Lady Northam on Tuesday.

Dr. Danny Avula, the health director for Richmond and Henrico, said the Governor’s diagnosis serves as a warning for all Virginians.

“There will not be a situation that is zero risk,” Avula explained. “I think about my own situation. It’s been hard for me to stay completely close to home because the demands of this job still require me to be out and about interacting with individuals.”

Avula urged everyone to continue to wear face coverings, maintain distancing, and continue to wash your hands.

As of Friday morning, there are more than 144,000 confirmed cases in Virginia, 10,801 hospitalizations, and 3,136 deaths due to the virus, according to the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard.

Northam joins just a handful of governors across the country who have tested positive for the coronavirus including Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, both Republicans.