COVID-19 update: Gov. Northam asks all Virginians to wear masks in public

Coronavirus

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Governor Ralph Northam provided updates on the commonwealth’s coronavirus response during a 2 p.m. press briefing Monday afternoon.

Northam started his press conference thanking Virginians for staying away from beaches and parks this past weekend, saying the social distancing measures implemented are working.

After weeks of searching for personal protective equipment, Virginia is finally getting some relief. The state purchased $27 million dollars worth of N95 masks, gloves, gowns and other protective materials from Virginia-based logistics company, Northfield. Northam said more supplies will still be needed but it’s a promising start.

“We expect the first shipment of PPE from Asia to arrive a week from today,” he said.

Northam emphasized that half of all COVID-19 cases in Virginia involve people under the age of 50. He said it’s important to note people that who are asymptomatic can still transmit the virus.

Masks and other face coverings can help prevent the spread of coronavirus, and Northam, citing CDC recommendations, encourages all Virginians to cover their face in public.

He says cloth masks (what Virginians should wear, no medical masks like N95s) are effective, but don’t offer full protection like medical-grade masks, so keeping your distance from others is still key.

Law enforcement will not bother anyone wearing a face mask in public. When asked by a reporter about wearing why he and his staff weren’t wearing a mask at the press conference, Northam says he and his staff wear them outside, but not inside their offices. Northam also brought his own mask to the news conference.

Northam said wearing a face cover can prevent the spread of and offer  some protection from respiratory droplets from talking and sneezing – but he said the public needs to remain vigilant. 

“No one should assume that when they’re wearing a face covering that they’re safe and can go about their business as normal,” he said.

For CDC guidelines and directions on how to make your own mask, click here.

Related: How to make a homemade face mask, with or without sewing

State Health Commissioner Norm Oliver says the state isn’t able to track those who’ve recovered from COVID-19 because those numbers are not being reported to the Virginia Department of Health.

Oliver also repeats that case numbers being reported by the Virginia Department of Health under-represent the actual number of cases in the state due to lack of testing.


Full press conference below:


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