TOPLINE UPDATES 

• 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%) 

OTHER TOPICS 

• 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.

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