WATCH: Gov. Northam, state health officials provide COVID-19 update amid rise in cases

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam and state health officials briefed the public Thursday amid the rise in coronavirus cases in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health announced that 94 cases have been confirmed, an increase from Wednesday when there were 77 coronavirus cases.

Northam began Thursday’s press conference by applauding the efforts from officials and Virginians during the pandemic.

“I appreciate everyone who is taking this seriously and trying to do their part to slow the spread of this coronavirus,” Northam said. “Again, this requires every single one of us to act responsible and with common sense. Every one needs to understand, acting for the common good is in all of your best interests. We are only as healthy as the people we come into contact with. 

Northam said that there are no plans to alter the 10-patron rule for restaurants and bars and also told reporters that Virginia State Police has been directed to not enforce vehicle inspection laws for 60 days.

The governor also addressed the economic impact felt in Virginia amid the outbreak.

“As of yesterday, we have received 10,000 unemployment claims from Virginians,” Northam said.

Virginia is adopting new guidelines for state prisons, jails and law enforcement during the outbreak. The entire correctional system, including sheriffs, judges and prosecutors, is being asked to consider alternatives to incarceration.

The State’s Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran says he’s asking law enforcement to use summons instead of custodial arrests when they can. Moran also asked magistrates and judges to consider bond instead of locking people up. Moran called on prosecutors and judges to modify sentences for low level offenders, for instance, home electronic monitoring instead of jail time.

“We want to reduce the interaction particularly this vulnerable population in our jails,” Moran said Thursday.

In another effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, visitation at all correctional facilities has been suspended.

WATCH: Full press conference with Gov. Northam, state health officials

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