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Governor issues "stay at home" order during coronavirus spread; 1,020 cases confirmed

(WDBJ)
Published: Mar. 30, 2020 at 8:10 AM EDT
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Governor Ralph Northam has announced a "stay at home" order for all Virginians in the wake of the

outbreak. He says until now, it was a suggestion, but it became an order when over the weekend, many people continued to gather at beaches and other places in large groups, putting people at risk. He referred to people gathering in large groups as "selfish."

to read Executive Order 55.

He says unless people have to go out for work, grocery shopping or health care or other absolutely necessary instances, they are to stay home. He says it's okay to go outside to exercise, but he says beaches and private campgrounds are being closed except for fishing and exercise.

“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” said Governor Northam. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

The executive order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until June 10, 2020, unless amended or rescinded by a further executive order.

Northam says groups of more than ten people in any one place are prohibited. Any businesses that can't adhere to that are to close. He says he has no desire to put anyone in jail, but the commonwealth will enforce penalties anytime a group doesn't adhere to the rules.

to watch the governor's Monday briefing.

He says it's more important than ever to utilize social distancing... staying at least six feet from the nearest person.

Northam also said the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a statewide household disaster feeding program. This means hundreds of thousands of Virginians are eligible to get food without meeting income guidelines.

for information.

to read Executive Order 53 about restrictions to businesses and gatherings.

for a list of frequently asked questions about Order 53.

The

is reporting 1,020 cases of

in the commonwealth as of Monday morning. That's up from 890 reported Sunday.

There are 25 recorded coronavirus-related deaths in the commonwealth as of Monday, up from 22 Sunday, and 136 people have been hospitalized. 12,038 people have been tested.

Roanoke City now has six cases, with five each in Franklin and Botetourt counties, four in Lynchburg, three in Amherst County, two in Nelson County and one in Henry County.

to see all the breakdowns.

The age group with the most cases is the 50s, with 184 cases, followed by 40s, with 176, and 60s, with 175 cases. There are 61 cases in the 80-plus group, and seven with children under ten years old.

When asked about May elections in Virginia, Northam said discussions are ongoing, and we should "stay tuned." He says when it comes to people gathering at each other's homes, he simply urges people to adhere to the maximum-ten rule.

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.

Northam says the commonwealth will request federal disaster assistance to be able to more effectively help people affected by the virus.

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