RICHMOND (June 11, 2020 – 7:04 pm)—FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase Two – Began for most of Virginia Friday, June 5
• Northern Virginia and Richmond will go into Phase 2 this Friday, June 12.
• Virginia will stay in Phase 2 for a minimum of two weeks to allow for adequate data observation.
HOSPITALS, PPE AND TESTING
• While other states have seen spikes in case numbers in the past week, Virginia’s metrics continue to trend downward.
• Total cases have been trending downward in Virginia since the end of May.
o The number of deaths from COVID-19 has also started to trend downward over the last several weeks.
• Percent positivity of tests is continuing to decrease, with the rate dropping to 8.9% this week.
o At Virginia’s peak, percent positivity was well over 20%.
• Governor Northam reminds Virginians that, despite the encouraging numbers, the virus is “still with us” and everyone must continue to behave cautiously in order to stay on this path.
• Addressing those attending protests across Virginia, Governor Northam encourages the use of face coverings at all times and testing after attending a protest.
COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING
• Total cases: 52,647
• Total deaths: 1,520
MAY REVENUE REPORT
• Revenues are about 20% below where they were in May of 2019.
o This is slightly better than was anticipated at the end of March.
• The fiscal year ends June 30.
o It was estimated that Virginia’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2020 would be $1 billion below the (pre-pandemic) projected revenue.
o Currently, Virginia’s revenue is $800 million below the projected revenue.
• The Governor will schedule a special session sometime in July to create a new budget.
o This is a necessity since tax payments have been delayed until June.
o The special session will come after the re-forecasting of the budget.
REOPENING OF SCHOOLS- HIGHER EDUCATION
• May begin to open campuses and offer in-person instruction.
• Must meet certain public health conditions to re-open o Ensure positive trends in public health data
o Community must have adequate healthcare capacity in the event of a surge in cases
• Institutions must submit comprehensive reopening plans to the State Council of Private Education
o Plans must be based upon the best available public health data, and VDH and CDC guidelines.
o Plans will include steps for increased social distancing, cleaning, and hygiene measures.
• The VDH offers testing guidance specified for institutions of higher education, which is available to all institutions in Virginia.
• Guidance for re-opening applies to all institutions, both public and private.
• While each institution has the ability to create their re-opening plan to best serve their unique needs, each plan, at minimum, must address the following considerations:
o Repopulation of campus, and travel off campus for breaks or necessitated removal of students from campus.
o Monitoring of health conditions to quickly detect appearance of the virus
o Containment to prevent spread of the virus when detected
o Shutdown considerations if necessitated by severe conditions or public health guidance
• Institutions are encouraged to update their plans as more information becomes available.
o Specifically in the areas of testing and contact tracing.
• The Richmond City Council has agreed to remove the other Confederate statues from Monument Avenue, along with the Robert E. Lee statue, which belongs to the state.
• Governor Northam’s new Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia law will continue to work to find and remove language in Virginia laws that perpetuate inequity in our state.
o They will focus specifically on public safety, criminal justice, health, housing and voting.
o They hope to have a report by November 15, 2020.
Next briefing: Tuesday, June 16 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.