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Virginia coronavirus count increases: 'This is not something that's going to go away overnight'

Posted at 1:34 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 13:34:06-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- The number of people in the state who have tested positive for the coronavirus has increased to 30, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The numbers released Friday reflect a significant increase from a day ago, when state officials had confirmed 17 cases.

Seven of the new cases are in northern Virginia.

Another five are in James City County near Williamsburg, and the final new case is in Harrisonburg.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday to respond to the pandemic.

"This is a virus that is new to the world. We don't know everything about it. We know the cases in Virginia doubled overnight from yesterday. So this is something that I encourage all Virginians to take very seriously," Northam said after he visited with doctors Friday at Richmond Community Hospital. "This is not something that's going to go away overnight."

The governor said Virginia was taking the lead when it came to testing sick Virginians.

"We've been dissatisfied with what we've heard at the national level and that's why we're taking it into our own hands in Virginia," he said. "There was a lot of misinformation over the last few weeks as far as who can be tested and how many of those tests are available."

The governor said the Virginia Department of Health, private labs, and university hospitals will administer coronavirus testing.