Virginia Governor Ralph Northam speaks on a facebook stream.

Governor Northam updates on COVID-19 as Phase 1 Re-Opening begins: May 15, 2020


• Phase One is beginning in much of the state today.

o “Entering Phase One does not mean we can start to behave how we used to.” 

• Yesterday, Governor Northam approved a request similar to that of Northern Virginia leaders to delay the beginning of Phase One in the City of Richmond and Accomack County.

o The following areas will now plan to enter Phase One on May 28:

 Counties of Accomack, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William 

 Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, and Richmond 

 Towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna 


• PCR tests and antibody tests have been disaggregated in VDH data reports, and will now be reported separately.

o This change has not had an effect on testing trends, with testing numbers still increasing and positive case numbers still decreasing. 

o Antibody tests currently make up about 9% of the total tests administered in Virginia. 

• Virginia now has 215 testing sites, with 52 new sites currently being prepared to open.

o This includes hospitals, free clinics, pharmacies, and more. 

• $121 million has been appropriated through VDEM for purchase of PPE.

o This includes an additional $32.3 million for testing. 

• The VDH has received close to 4,000 applications for contact tracers as they ramp up this ability in each health district.

o Onboarding plans for these new workers are being finalized. 


• Total cases: 28,672

o 859 new in the last 24-hour reporting period 

• Total deaths: 977

o 22 new in the last 24-hour reporting period 

• 4,586 cases (23%) have been reported in the African American community.

o This includes 207 deaths, about 24% of Virginia’s total. 

• 8,466 cases (44%) have been reported in the Latino community.

o This includes 76 deaths, about 10% of the total. 


• The first monthly revenue report that shows the impact of COVID-19 closures on Virginia’s economy was completed yesterday. 

• April revenue collection was down 26%, which is $700 million less than usual. 

The current prediction is that Virginia will see a loss of about $1 billion by the end of June. 

• Secretary of Finance Aubrey Layne says that Virginia’s economic activity “held up well,” likely due to the strength of the economy before COVID-19.

o This has not been a “total shutdown” of economic activity. 

• Twenty percent of revenue comes from sales taxes, which remained steady throughout the month of April.

o This reflects a successful move from in-person purchases to socially distanced purchases. 

• The majority of revenue loss for the month of April is due to the extension of the tax filing deadline from May 1 to June 1.

o The picture of the true state of the economy will become more clear as tax payments come in. 

• $650 million from the CARES Act is expected to be distributed to localities by June 1.

o These funds can be used to offset costs directly related to the COVID-19 response


• Governor Northam continues to encourage Virginians to vote through absentee ballot in next week’s local elections.

o Younger, less at-risk, members of the National Guard and the Volunteer Medical Corps are being used to staff polling places in the place of older people who may be more at-risk of contracting the virus. 

o The state will also provide PPE and cleaning equipment for all polling places and staffers. 

• A lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections citing cruel and unusual punishment during the COVID-19 outbreak has been dismissed.

o Secretary Brian Moran ensures the public that the Department of Corrections is following all CDC guidelines, including efforts to maintain separation of inmates. 

Next briefing: Monday, May 18 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

Provided by Commonwealth Strategy Group for the Virginia Press Association.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.