RICHMOND , Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam held a briefing Wednesday, January 6, to provide updates on the commonwealth’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and discuss vaccination plans.
Northam said he is hopeful as the state has been able to greatly improve testing for COVID-19 over the past few months.
Gov. Northam cited the UVA model that suggests COVID-19 cases will keep rising in Virginia into February. He says taking a vaccine is the right thing, and it will be part of our path to recovery.
Northam said Virginia gets about 110,000 doses a week. Northam encourages doses to be used, instead of being kept in storage. Northam says it will take time to get vaccine doses to more Virginians but the information on dose numbers and where the vaccines are sent will be public.
Vaccine priority is currently frontline healthcare workers, followed by long-term care residents, then essential workers like firefighters, teachers, bus drivers, mail carriers, and food workers. All part of groups 1A and 1B. Northam says vaccinating these groups likely to run well into the spring season.
Gov. Northam emphasizes that more people need to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Northam says the National Guard will be coming to Virginia to work on vaccinations. As we work forward, the Virginia Department of Health will get the word out on its website and in the local communities when it’s your turn to get the vaccine.
The Virginia Department of Health reports a total of 377,300 COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth as of Wednesday, January 6. The number of newly reported cases since yesterday is 5,387. Virginia’s death total from the virus is at 5,226. The total number of people tested is 5,339,009. The current 7-day positivity rate for total testing encounters is 16.1%. The 7-day positivity rate for PCR testing only is 16.7%.
In his last briefing held on December 10, 2020 Gov. Northam introduced the following restrictions to take effect at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14, and be in place until at least January 31:
- Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
- Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
- Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
- Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
- Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.