RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia has 114 COVID-19 cases, with 20 patients in the hospital and roughly 35 additional tests pending at the state lab, health officials reported during a Friday morning press conference with Gov. Ralph Northam. The governor acknowledged that the drastic changes facing Virginians due to the coronavirus pandemic are stressful and scary, especially when it comes with uncertainty.
“Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, our current count is 114 cases,” Dr. M. Norman Oliver, the state health commissioner, confirmed. “We have about another 35 tests that are being processed during the day today, so the case count will go up.”
Oliver said that more tests from private labs will most likely add to the total and in regards to testing, Virginia has the capability to test more than 1,000 people. He also confirmed that the coronavirus has impacted each region of Virginia.
“Among the cases reported is a case in southwest Virginia, so now every region of the commonwealth has at least one case of COVID-19,” Oliver continued.
Health officials said that staff at the state lab have been trained to administer tests since the beginning of the outbreak, and that there is no reason to believe that there are any staffing concerns at this time.
Virginia’s Chief Workforce Development Advisor Megan Healy told reporters that 14,000 unemployment claims were received between Monday and Thursday, with more than 6,000 claims on Thursday.
Healy also said that Virginia has expanded call centers and increase server capacity to help speed up the website used to file an unemployment claim.
When asked about his thoughts on people going outside to public places, such as parks, the governor said Virginians should practice caution when going outdoors.
“It is a beautiful day, it is Friday and we encourage people to get outside and get fresh air, get exercise, stay health, keep their moral up, their self-esteem but we do encourage them to keep their distance,” Northam told reporters.
The governor also noted that he directed the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority to adjust licensing regulations to permit businesses with on-premise privileges only to sell wine or beer in sealed containers for curbside pickup at a designated location or for delivery without a permit.
WATCH: Gov. Northam, state health officials full COVID-19 briefing
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