Summary of Gov. Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing: May 22, 2020


• 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 

• 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. 


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. 


• 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 

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 To access the Governor’s official news releases, visit 

Prepared by Commonwealth Strategy Group for the Virginia Press Association.

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