Gov. Northam says coronavirus cases climb to 67 in Virginia, urges those 65 and older to self-quarantine

Virginia News

"It is everyone’s responsibility to use common sense at this time"

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In a press conference Tuesday morning, Governor Ralph Northam provided an update on the state’s response to coronavirus.

Northam said there are now 67 cases of coronavirus in the commonwealth. Virginia still has 48 pending coronavirus cases.

State health officals said they are beginning to see cases with no other known transmission, which makes them believe there is community spread. At this time, Virginia has 300 to 400 tests available.

In light of this, Gov. Northam said Virginia will align with the federal recommendation of banning gatherings of 10 people or more. The governor said he is working with legal counsel to determine how to enforce this new rule.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to use common sense at this time,” Gov. Northam said.

Gov. Northam said everyone has a role in being part of the solution. He also urged young people to stay indoors, saying “you are literally putting others at risk.”

WATCH: Full Gov. Northam Tuesday a.m. press conference

“Young and healthy people might think this will not affect them, but they should think of their parents and grandparents,” Gov. Northam said.

The commonwealth has its first confirmed case of coronavirus in a retirement home. As a result, Gov. Northam recommended that anyone over the age of 65 self-quarantine.

On Monday, The Virginia Department of Health reported Virginia’s second COVID-19 death. The patient, a man in his 70s who acquired the virus through an unknown source, died from respiratory failure, the Peninsula Health District said.

A Goochland man in his 60s tested positive for the novel coronavirus after likely coming in close contact with a confirmed case while traveling outside the commonwealth, according to the Chickahominy Health District. The man’s health is improving, the department said. He’s the second confirmed COVID-19 case in the Chickahominy District.

“As we continue to see new cases of COVID-19 in our community and throughout Virginia, it becomes even more critical that people follow public health recommendations on social distancing and good hygiene,” Chickahominy Health District Director, Dr. Thomas Franck said in a statement.

“Social distancing is one of the most effective strategies in lessening the impact of an epidemic such as COVID-19.” As of today, people should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 individuals. If you are 65 years or older, or if you have a serious chronic medical conditions (e.g., heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, immune compromise), you should seriously consider staying at home. “We all have a responsibility and duty to do everything we can to protect ourselves and our community from this novel coronavirus,” Franck continued.

The Henrico and Richmond health departments confirmed to 8News that a Henrico woman in her 20s is in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

Several closures have already been announced as the commonwealth — and country — works to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

During the press conference, Northam addressed the concerns of people who work in the restaurant industry, saying that they can contact Virginia’s employment office for help in receiving unemployment funds.

The governor is not requiring restaurants to close and instead urged Virginians to order take out from local restaurants and avoid eating inside.

Gov. Northam announced that all DMV offices will close. Virginians will still have access to online services.

Stay with 8News for updates.

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