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Governor open to parts of VA reopening before others

(WDBJ)
Published: Apr. 27, 2020 at 8:32 AM EDT
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At his Monday afternoon briefing, Governor Northam was asked again about the possibility of reopening certain, less affected parts of the state before others, and he said he is open to all possibilities, based on success of testing. In the past, he has resisted such an idea, saying the virus has no borders and what's good for one part of the state is good for others, but with increased capacity for testing, he said it's open for discussion.

As an example, he said parts of Virginia on borders of states that have more readily reopened might be able to be reopened, since they can attract the same clientele as the other states.

But he also said, "This virus is highly contagious and whenever a person or persons in any particular area of Virginia are exposed to this, it just spreads like wildfire, and that's what we're seeing in some areas of Virginia, especially rural areas of Virginia."

He is hoping to reopen hospitals for elective surgeries as early as Friday, May 1, saying hospitals have not been as overburdened with COVID-19 cases as was anticipated.

Northam says COVID-19 testing abilities continue to increase, with testing more accessible on a regular basis in more places.

Refering to personal protective equipment, or PPE, said, "Today we are receiving 800 thousand gloves and 300 thousand surgical masks as part of a shipment iwth Virginia-based Northfield Medical Supply. We're also expecting 14 thousand test swabs at the state lab from FEMA, and cloth masks for critical infrastructure workers such as energy and construction."

He said inmates in the state's Department of Corrections have made 470,000 masks for other inmates, plus state employees and law enforcement, and other groups that may need them.

Northam said the Centers for Disease Control has a team in Virginia to work with meat and poultry processing plants, many of which are seeing outbreaks of coronavirus, especially on the eastern shore and Shenandoah Valley.

The

is reporting 13,535 cases of

in the commonwealth as of Monday morning. That's up from 12,970 reported Sunday.

The number marks a 565-case increase from Sunday to Monday, less than the 604-case increase from Saturday to Sunday, which was also a decrease from the day before. That marks two straight days of declines. Governor Northam and health officials say there needs to be a 14-day period of steady new-case declines before social distance and business-reopening protocols should be eased.

There are 458 recorded coronavirus-related deaths in the commonwealth as of Monday, up ten from 448 Sunday, and 2,066 people have been hospitalized. 80,180 people have been tested. VDH has not been reporting numbers of people who have recovered, saying that information is not gathered by individual health agencies across the state.

to see all the breakdowns.

Any new confirmed cases from health departments throughout the state the rest of the day won't show up until at least the following day on the state list, as the official numbers are only updated once a day, with a 5 p.m. cutoff each day for new cases to be reflected on the next day's list.

Governor Northam has issued a

for people who don't have to go out.

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