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Gov. Youngkin announces COVID Action Plan in Roanoke

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 7:14 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled his COVID action plan Thursday in Roanoke.

Youngkin visited Carilion Clinic and a new Virginia Department of Health testing site at Valley View Mall. And he said Virginia is redoubling efforts to prevent the spread of COVID, and treat those who contract the virus.

“And so I want to thank you, thank all of you for everything that you do,” Youngkin told employees of Carilion Clinic.

A briefing for reporters started with a tribute to the health care workers who are still on the front lines two years after the pandemic unfolded.

In his first official visit outside Richmond, he announced the COVID Action Plan he says will strengthen the state’s hospitals and ensure a strong recovery.

“And so we are recognizing today that prevention is absolutely the key,” Youngkin said.

The Governor signed his 11th executive order, giving hospitals more flexibility in how they respond to the crisis. He said the state will issue clear guidelines to prioritize rapid tests for students, health care professionals, other essential workers and vulnerable Virginians. And he promised a major effort to persuade more Virginians to get vaccinated.

“So today, we in fact announced our Marshall Plan, to redouble our efforts to communicate to make available and, oh, by the way, to strongly, strongly encourage people to get the vaccine,” Youngkin said.

What Youngkin will not do is issue mask or vaccine mandates.

He was asked about Democratic criticism of his executive order allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates in Virginia schools. Youngkin said his action was consistent with state law. And he told reporters he is confident the courts will uphold his executive order.

“I do find it to be an extraordinary statement of irony,” Youngkin said, “that we are seeing lawsuits being filed by people because the government isn’t telling them what to do enough.”

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