Northam says Virginia doesn’t have enough testing materials, PPE as cases top 600


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/WAVY) — Virginia reported more than 200 cases of coronavirus since Gov. Ralph Northam addressed the state’s response to the crisis on Wednesday.

The governor shared an update on the virus Friday alongside state health officials.

Northam began Friday’s briefing by pleading with Virginians to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak unless there is a necessity to leave. He cited an effort to “flatten the curve” and not overwhelm the state’s health care facilities, but did not give any indication that a stay-at-home order was near.

“That’s the only way that we can slow the spread of this virus to give our medical system time to build its capacity to save lives,” Northam said.

He also appeared to speak to younger residents by providing statistics of Virginia cases.

Of the 604 cases in the Commonwealth, 93 of those are in the age range of 20-29 years old. 

The governor also announced that Virginia does not have enough testing materials and personal protective equipment.

“The issue is very simple. We do not have enough testing materials and personal protective equipment for our medical staff and first responders,” Northam said. “This is partially due to supply chain disruptions in Asia because of the COVID-19 outbreak there, and it will take several weeks for that to get back on track. In the meantime, our country needs a national solution.”

Northam told reporters Friday that after a call with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and governors from across the country, he and other leaders from the region — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser — are calling on the Trump administration to set up a federal testing site specifically for the area.

“We are home to the majority of federal workers — more than 360,000 across our three jurisdictions and many of them work in critical agencies that must continue to operate,” he said.

In his press conference Wednesday, Northam mandated that elective surgeries be suspended, announced state parks would only be open during the day and asked those who have traveled from New York to Virginia to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Since then, the number of confirmed cases has risen by 213 to a total of 604. Of those cases, 83 people are in the hospital and 14 deaths have been reported.

Virginia State Parks announced other restrictions Wednesday, including the decision to close overnight facilities and restrooms through April 30.

Northam is encouraging any health care professional who is 18 or older and currently or previously licensed to become a volunteer with the Virginia Medical Reserve Corps. You can find more information here.

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