RICHMOND, April 15, 2020 — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam today extended by 2 more weeks his executive order requiring non-essential businesses to close due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. The Stay at Home order remains effective until June 10. Northam also called for volunteers during today’s news conference:

  • Executive Order 53 has been extended for 2 more weeks, from 04-23-2020 to 05-08-2020.
    • This extends EO-53 in its entirety, meaning that non-essential businesses will remain closed until May 8, 2020, including:
      • Cessation of in-person K-12 education for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year
      • Ban on public gatherings of more than 10 individuals
      • Closure of restaurants and bars (take-out or delivery only)
      • Closure of recreational and entertainment businesses
      • Closure of salons and spas
  • The “Stay at Home” order is still in effect until June 10.
  • Governor Northam and Secretary Carey have issued a call for additional volunteers, both medical and non-medical, to join the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
  • An additional $70 million from the CARE Act is being directed to provide childcare for essential workers.

HOSPITALS AND TESTING

  • Hospitals currently feel prepared to handle the likely upcoming surge in cases, provided that Virginians continue to follow social distancing measures.
    • This estimation is supported by the latest models.
  • It is estimated that up to 30,000 volunteers will be needed to provide support in hospitals and long-term care facilities during the surge in cases in the coming weeks.
    • The Office of the Governor and the MRC are working with universities to enlist the help of students, particularly those enrolled in medical or nursing programs.
    • To sign up, please visit vamrc.org.
  • Virginia has one of the lowest per-population testing rates in the United States.
    • Both state and commercial labs are working together to increase testing capability and turnaround time, which will allow for testing criteria to be broadened throughout the clinical community.
    • The three areas that are being prioritized for testing are:
      • Outbreak intervention (especially in the instance of reported cases within long term care facilities)
      • Healthcare providers
      • Public Health surveillance
  • The ability to clinically diagnose COVID-19 will increase as a national case definition is developed.
    • Cases are currently being clinically diagnosed in the absence of tests but must be properly vetted and confirmed before being reported.

COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING 

  • Total cases: 6,500
    • 1,048 hospitalizations
    • 329 new cases in the last 24 hours
  • Total deaths: 195
    • 41 new deaths reported in the last 24 hours
    • Note that this sharp increase in reported deaths does not mean that 41 new deaths occurred in the last 24 hours, but reflects a lag in data entry resulting from a shortage of staff to complete data entry, contact tracing, and other reporting necessities.
  • Race and Ethnicity Data:
    • 3,904 of the total cases include race data
    • 1,158 cases (30%) are amongst African Americans
    • 59 deaths (35%) are amongst African Americans
  • The Virginia-specific models and analysis presented on Monday, April 13 are available HERE.

PUBLIC EDUCATION AND CHILDCARE 

  • Governor Northam has expanded Virginia’s existing online learning system, Virtual Virginia, so that every teacher will be able to host online classes and share lessons and activities with students through June 30.
    • The program can be downloaded onto devices to enable students without consistent internet access to engage in online learning.
  • Other new resources for students and teachers include:
    • “VA TV Classroom” a teacher-led, on-air TV program that provides another option for students that may not have access to internet for distance learning.
    • Virginia Learns Anywhere” a hub of resources established by the Continuity for Learning Taskforce to reinforce structure and aid teachers in their efforts to teach remotely.
  • The $70 million from the CARE Act will provide:
    • Direct, flexible cash assistance for childcare centers that have been able to remain open.
    • The ability to turn schools into emergency childcare centers.
    • A suspension on copayments for families who already receive federal subsidy dollars for childcare.
  • For more information on how to access these new resources, visit virginiachildcare.org

Next briefing: Friday, April 17 at 2:00PM. 

NOTE: This is an informal and timely summary of the Governor’s live press briefing. To access recordings of the briefings, visit https://www.facebook.com/GovernorVA/. To access the Governor’s official news releases, visit https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/

This summary provided by Commonwealth Strategy Group and the Virginia Press Association.

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