Northam says possible COVID-19 surge expected in late April, May as cases approach 1,500

Virginia News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia has reported 464 coronavirus cases since Gov. Ralph Northam issued a stay-at-home order Monday, putting the state’s total at 1,484. During Wednesday’s press briefing, the governor cautioned that Virginia could face a surge in cases in late April or May.

“I want Virginians to be realistic in their expectations. You need to know the truth, no sugar-coating,” Northam said. “I know this is hard. People are isolated, you’re worried and many of you are out of work. My strategy has always been to plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Northam echoed his previous remarks urging Virginians to prepare for the long haul that will last months, not weeks.

“While we continue to examine the available models about when Virginia’s cases will surge, we currently expect that will be sometime between late April and late May,” the governor said. “I am already thinking, and planning, on how we can land this plane on the backside of the curve. But for now, we are at the beginning of this virus and that is why it’s so important for Virginians to stay at home.”

There are currently 208 people in the hospital and 34 confirmed deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health. A Spotsylvania man in his 60s who succumbed to the virus appears to be the state’s 35 death, the county said Wednesday.

The governor said that while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continues to search for a field hospital site in Richmond, they have settled on an ExxonMobil facility in Fairfax and another at the Hampton Convention Center.

“We’ve looked at where we see the greatest need and potential impact on hospital capacity so that’s how we’ve prioritized,” Carlos Hopkins, secretary of veterans and defense affairs, shared Wednesday. “The team is conducting assessments west of Richmond and will head out to Charlottesville and Roanoke next week.”

The state is preparing to use military hospitals for overflow patients. Northam said Virginia has received its third shipment of personal protective equipment, including face shields and masks, to help. Despite the shipment, Virginia’s Secretary of Health Dr. Daniel Carey says the state needs more equipment.

“There is no question that if PPE supplies aren’t dramatically increased in the weeks ahead we won’t be able to protect the current health care workers in their current setting let alone expanded capacity,” Carey explained.

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

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