Governor Northam delivers coronavirus briefing

Governor Northam delivers coronavirus briefing

RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam held a coronavirus briefing Friday at 2 p.m. He began the briefing by saying there is a new tool to help assess symptoms and find out where to get tested.

The Virginia Department of Health has released COVIDCHECK, a telehealth and online risk assessment tool: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/covidcheck/. You can check your symptoms, determine if you should self isolate or see a doctor, find where to get a test, and get answers on the COVIDCHECK website.

  • Gov. Northam announced a new call center with 315 employees will help those seeking unemployment benefits. In April, the unemployment rate in Virginia rose to the highest level ever recorded. The Virginia Employment Commission reported Friday that the rate rose to 10.6 percent in the month, up from 3.3 percent in March.
  • Northam says 740,000 SNAP beneficiaries will be able to order groceries online and have it delivered starting May 29. This is part of a pilot program that was approved by the USDA. He says SNAP beneficiaries can use Amazon and Walmart for orders.
  • Northam continues to promote wearing a mask or face covering in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. He encourages children to wear facial protection in public, as well.
  • Richmond’s mayor has requested stricter mask policy. Northam says he is reviewing policy on mandating masks in public for the state and plans to announce a decision on Tuesday May 26, which would affect the whole state, not just Richmond.
  • When asked if he is concerned about the recent uptick in reported number of COVID-19 deaths, Northam clarifies that those are not necessarily in a 24-hour period, but he is concerned about them.
  • Asked if officials could report numbers of people who have recovered from COVID-19, Dr. Norm Oliver says system is not set up to cover that, but the numbers of those discharged from ICUs is compiled, though.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared places of worship essential and President Trump is calling on governors to reopen them immediately. Gov. Northam says they’re already open in Virginia under Phase 1, but they are at 50% capacity and have other restrictions.
  • Northam reminded Virginians to maintain social distancing and other coronavirus-related guidelines even though this is a holiday weekend,
  • In closing, Gov. Northam reminds everyone that Memorial Day Weekend is about the men and women who have served and their sacrifices.
  • Governor Northam is reducing the number of times he does his briefings weekly from three to two. Starting next week Northam deliver briefings on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting next Tuesday, May 26.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.