RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam didn’t have any major announcements during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing, but continued to ask Virginians to get vaccinated and said Virginia will be ready when vaccines are approved for those under the age of 12 — likely at the end of October/early November.
Virginia’s COVID metrics are still high, “way too high,” Northam says, with hospitalization figures (2,000-plus patients statewide) around the 2020-21 winter surge, but virus levels have dropped slightly in the past two weeks, from about 3,700 cases reported per day to about 3,100. Test positivity is down to 9.5%
Deaths (40 per day on average) are also at their highest levels since March. Nearly all COVID hospitalizations and deaths are in unvaccinated people, data shows, but there have been breakthrough cases and even some breakthrough deaths.
He also said there’s encouraging news on the overall vaccination front, pointing to the fact that 80% of Virginian adults have at least one dose and 60% of the total Virginian population is vaccinated.
Still, he says unvaccinated individuals continue to make up the highest amount of people contracting the virus and getting hospitalized.
“Delta will go, but there’ll be another one. And that one will go. And I can show you that graph again where we’re going to have peaks and troughs,” he said.
The conversation quickly shifted to schools, where Northam and three superintendents showed promising data showing mitigation efforts.
They said mitigation efforts, like masking, are working, and most student cases come from outside school.
“What that tells us is the mitigation strategies are working and I would venture the safest place for children in Richmond and I would say all across the Commonwealth is inside school,” said Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras.
At this time, they won’t require students to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but say they’re not taking anything off the table when it comes to stopping the spread of the virus.
“The science is clear, masks in schools help protect our children and vaccines protect our children too,” said Northam. “This is a good time to remind everyone, Virginia needs your help.”
Northam also noted that he still can’t taste or smell a year after getting COVID-19.