Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing – 5/28/2020
- Over 100,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, including 1,338 Virginians.
- Starting tomorrow, May 29, face coverings will be required for everyone inside public places.
- Virginia's request to extend Title 32 status has been approved by the federal government.
- The federal government will continue to support the presence of the National Guard in Virginia's response to COVID-19.
FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase One – Began Friday, May 15th
- Tomorrow, May 29, all of Virginia, including Richmond City, Accomack County, and the Northern Virginia region will have entered Phase 1.
- All Phase One guidelines will apply throughout the state.
- Rita Davis, Council to the Governor, clarified the ways in which the face covering mandate will be enforced:
- The enforcement mechanism in EO 63 is the same statutory process through which ALL Orders of Public Health Emergency are enforced.
- This is not a new process, nor is it unique to Executive Order 63.
- Title 32.1 of the VA Health Code provides two avenues by which the Department of Health can enforce orders made by the State Health Commissioner. Civil process by which an injunction is obtained. Warrant issued by a magistrate. Only "gross, egregious, and repeated" violation of the order should rise to the attention of the VDH and law enforcement. Law enforcement should only become involved in cases of confrontation in a place of business.
- The Governor does not expect business owners to enforce EO 63, but rather encourages them to take the opportunity to educate non complying patrons on the importance of wearing a mask.
- Each individual should be responsible for making sure that they are wearing a face covering in public.
- Governor Northam encourages all Virginians to wear a face covering simply because it is the right thing to do to protect yourself and others.
- Virginia will remain in Phase One for a minimum of another week.
- Areas that delayed entering Phase One may still enter Phase 2 with the rest of the state next Friday, provided that their data trends show that they are ready.
- Governor Northam continues to stress that Virginia's economy cannot recover until the health crisis has been controlled.
HOSPITALS, PPE AND TESTING
- Percent of positive tests continues to trend down.
- Testing capacity is continuing to increase.
- Virginia's testing is a combination of public testing events, and tests available at doctor's offices, pharmacies and clinics.
- 39 CVS Pharmacies across Virginia will be providing testing via self-swab kits.
- 200 new shipments of PPE have been distributed throughout the state's health districts this week.
- Another shipment from Virginia's contract with Northfield arrived yesterday.
- This included 2 million N95 masks, and 5 million pairs of gloves.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
- Executive Order 51, which declared a state of emergency for Virginia in response to COVID-19, has been amended to no longer expire on June 10.
- The order will now have to be amended to be taken out of effect.
- The state of emergency facilitates a number of the state's response efforts, for example:
- Medicaid funding of telehealth
- Deployment of the National Guard
- This extension allows for greater flexibility in responding to the health crisis.
- Tomorrow, all public beaches in Virginia will open for recreational activity.
- "Virginia Beach's plan for social distancing and sanitation practices should be a model for other beaches to follow"
- As beaches re-open, the following guidelines will be in place:
- No gatherings over 10 people
COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING
- Total cases: 41,401
- 1,152 new in the last 24 hour reporting period.
- Total deaths: 1,338
- 57 new in the last 24 hour reporting period.
- This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting.
- NASCAR and horse racing will be allowed to run single-day events under strict guidelines:
- Microsoft will open a new research development hub in Reston, VA, creating 1,500 new jobs.
- Due to the slow re-opening and high demand for DMV appointments, Virginians who's drivers licenses expire before June 31, 2020 will now have until August 31, 2020 to renew.