• The Virginia Department of Health is launching a new program, COVID Check, so that those who think they may have COVID-19 can answer questions online to determine what their next steps should be.
o The tool provides guidance based on symptoms, advice about when to contact a doctor, as well as providing resources for local testing locations.
o This can be accessed at vdh.virginia.gov/covidcheck
• Governor Northam reminds Virginians to continue to wear masks, observe social distancing guidelines, as well as the “Safer at Home” order throughout Memorial Day Weekend.
FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase One – Began Friday, May 15
• The Northam administration and VDH continue to monitor data trends, especially in the Phase 0 areas of NOVA, Richmond, and Accomack County, to determine when Virginia can safely enter Phase 2.
• Governor Northam stressed the importance of wearing face coverings in public for all Virginians.
o This includes children of all ages (not babies/young toddlers).
• More information on Phase 0 areas and their next steps will be shared on Tuesday.
HOSPITALS, PPE AND TESTING
• Percent positivity in testing is at about 15% throughout the state and is trending downward.
• The number of tests being administered daily continues to increase, with large-scale community testing being conducted throughout the state.
• There are 44 community testing events planned for next week, in both Northern Virginia and Richmond.
o 17,500 tests are expected to be administered during these events.
• 43 long term care facilities have completed point prevalence surveys, with the goal of all facilities throughout the state being surveyed.
o 15 facilities are being surveyed next week, with 6,000 tests to be administered.
• The VHHA is reporting the number of patients that have been treated in, and discharged from, their hospitals on their website.
COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING
• Total cases: 34,950
o 813 new cases in the last 24-hour reporting period.
• Total deaths: 1,136
o 37 new deaths in the last 24-hour reporting period
• There are 5,285 cases in the African American community, 22% of the total.
o 234 deaths (24%)
• The Latinx community has 10,977 cases, 47% of the total.
o 90 deaths (10%)
• The USDA has approved a Department of Social Services pilot program to allow SNAP recipients to use the benefits of the program when ordering groceries online.
o Amazon and Walmart are both participating in the program, allowing SNAP recipients to place orders for both pick-up and delivery.
• April’s unemployment report showed Virginia at 10.6% unemployment.
o 720,000 have filed for unemployment since the beginning of the pandemic response.
o 44,000 new claims were filed this week.
o A new VEC call center is opening this week with 315 new employees to help meet the increased need.
• VPM is airing “Virginia Graduates Together”, a program to celebrate class of 2020 graduates, next Friday.
o Graduates can submit photos and videos at https://vpm.org/virginia-graduates-together
Next briefing: Tuesday, May 26 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/
Prepared by Commonwealth Strategy Group for the Virginia Press Association.