RICHMOND Va. (WRIC) — Gov. Ralph Northam recommended that elections set for May should be postponed until November to protect people during the coronavirus outbreak. The governor also announced that he has pushed back the congressional primary on June 9 to June 23.
Northam said he was postponing the elections because while they are a constitutional right, no one should risk their health to go vote.
A state official said absentee ballots that have already been cast for May elections in Virginia will be discarded since those elections will be held in November.
Northam said the state government will send 1.5 million gloves and more than 430,000 N-95 masks to hospitals around the state.
So far, the governor said no Virginia Hospital has run out of personal protective equipment (PPE), however, they are keeping an eye on this. He asked any locality with a shortage of PPE to let the state government know and they will do everything they can to help.
Northam also said states have gotten limited guidance and assistance from the federal government, echoing a point from previous weeks that Virginia is competing with other states for PPE, and coronavirus hot spots like New York City and Detroit are getting more of the government’s focus.
Virginia has gotten 10% of the PPE it has requested from federal stockpiles, the governor noted.
Northam gave a bit of criticism to state and private labs, saying they needed to do a better job at tracking the demographic data. He said African Americans are more likely to have underlying conditions that put them at a higher risk of severe symptoms with COVID-19.
Norman Oliver, the Virginia Health Department’s commissioner, said Virginia is one of 12 state reporting race and ethnicity data in coronavirus testing, but there is only data in 53% of cases.
One good bit of news that came out of the conference for Virginia restaurants is any restaurant with an ABC license will be able to sell mixed drinks to-go starting midnight on Friday. Northam also noted that Passover starts tonight, but encouraged everyone to continue social distancing despite the holiday because it is helping curb the spread of COVID-19.
WATCH: Full briefing with Gov. Northam, state health officials on Wednesday
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