Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks to reporters in Richmond April 29, 2020. Facebook video image.

Virginia COVID-19 Update – Wednesday May 6, 2020


• Details about the Phase 1 opening will be provided at Friday’s press conference. 

• Today, Governor Northam asked President Trump to extend Virginia’s Title 32 status so that federal funding can continue to support the National Guard’s efforts to help combat COVID-19 in Virginia. 


• Rates of hospitalization have remained stable, along with bed capacity and ventilators in Virginia hospitals. 

• No hospitals have reported difficulty in acquiring sufficient PPE in the last week. 

• The Virginia National Guard has helped to put on 12 testing events, providing the manpower needed to administer tests and transport them to labs. They continue to make it possible for over 1,000 of Virginia’s tests per day to be administered.

o They have also helped to distribute food, PPE, and other supplies to thousands of Virginians. 

• The VHHA has announced that they will be helping long term care facilities by providing testing capability and supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer. 

• Virginia’s new Health Equity Work Group has also worked to provide PPE and other supplies to high-risk communities.

o 15,000 masks and thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer have been distributed in communities with higher risk. 

o The work group has been conducting community testing in RVA and Harrisonburg. 

• Point prevalence testing is now being implemented in state correctional facilities. 


• A technical error in data entry occurred that has caused a delay in updating the VDH website.

o Dr. Oliver reported that today’s statistics should be up on the website by the end of the day. 


• Phase One restrictions and openings are regarded as the “floor” or a minimum of restrictions that must be followed. The state will allow localities that wish to implement more stringent restrictions to do so.

o The Governor’s office will be working with localities in “hotbeds” like Northern Virginia to determine where increased restrictions may still be needed. 

o However, the Governor said he will have the final say over the local restrictions. 


• The issue of releasing COVID-19 information by nursing home remains a hot topic and there has been no change in the policy of the Governor’s administration, despite clear bi-partisan concern over the lack of transparency. The Governor declined to answer a question about whether he’d support a legislative change, as suggested in the Virginia Mercury article today. 

• The CDC is working alongside the VDH in poultry plants in the Eastern Shore to conduct large scale testing in the plants as well as the communities there. o The poultry and meat processing plants do pose a concern for community spread due to the large number of people in the community working within the plants. 

o Plants are working continuously to provide additional protective measures between workers, such as plexiglass to separate work stations. 

o Plants are also doing their best to ensure paid sick leave for workers who have tested positive for COVID-19.

 Hotel space is also being provided so that people can continue to work without putting their families at risk. 

Next briefing: Friday, May 8 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 To access the Governor’s official news releases, visit 

Prepared by Commonwealth Strategy Group for the Virginia Press Association.

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