Gov. Northam won’t impose new COVID-19 restrictions yet ‘but all options remain on the table’

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam has no plans to impose any new coronavirus restrictions in Virginia at this time but “all options remain on the table” in the midst of a third wave and spike in hospitalizations, according to a spokesperson in the governor’s office.

“As you know, Governor Northam has taken proactive action throughout this pandemic to combat the spread of COVID-19, including new statewide measures announced prior to Thanksgiving. It’s been a little over two weeks since these new measures went into effect—and health officials say it takes at least two to three weeks to see an impact,” the official in Northam’s office said in an email. “There will be no new restrictions announced today, but all options remain on the table going forward—particularly as we continue to evaluate the potential for a post-Thanksgiving surge.”

The spokesperson noted that the commonwealth’s per capita cases remain lower than most of the other states in the country, but acknowledged the administration’s concern over Virginia’s percent positivity rate and hospitalizations.

Virginia has had an average of 2,311 new cases per day in the last seven days, which accounts for a 27.1 rate per 100,000 residents.

“We’re seeing troubling increases in our percent positivity and the number of people hospitalized — that’s why the Governor continues to actively explore next steps,” the email continued.

There are 1,860 patients, who either have a confirmed case or a test result that is pending, in hospitals across Virginia, according to a database from the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. While nearly 25,000 Virginians have been treated and released from the hospital since the pandemic began, there are currently 427 coronavirus patients in the ICU and 188 on a ventilator.

The state’s health department has reported 242,480 total cases and 4,113 COVID-19 deaths since March. The current positivity rate in Virginia using PCR testing is 8.3 percent, the highest it has been since August.

Northam provided an update on how Virginia plans to distribute the first shipments of a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, with state health officials confirming during a press conference that the commonwealth will follow the recommendation of a federal advisory panel that voted the day before to put health care workers and nursing home residents at the front of the line.

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