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Gov. Northam declares state of emergency

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 11:58 AM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WVIR) - Governor Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency for the next 30 days. With more than 3,500 patients across Virginia hospitalized with COVID-19, this order will work to help medical staff.

“This order will help in several ways, primarily by allowing hospitals to expand bed capacity and give more flexibility in staffing,” Northam said during his final press briefing Monday, January 10.

Cynthia Bailey, Governor’s counsel, says Northam has power to do this under emergency provisions.

“It has been a long 22 months for all of us. We’ve been worried we’ve been scared, angry, sad, and a lot more sometimes, all at once,” the governor said. “Last week, the daily census numbers in hospitals around the state hit record highs.”

Hospitals across the commonwealth are packed full, with a 24.5% positivity rate in Albemarle County and some areas like Greene even breaking 30%.

The governor says the reason for the 30-day length of the state of emergency is because of modeling that suggests the virus will peak in the next few weeks, which will hopefully provide relief to hospitals.

“Everyone who can needs to be vaccinated,” Northam said.

Nine new testing sites will also be opening across Virginia, with one right in Charlottesville.

“These will be able to process about 500 tests a day, six days a week, although three larger sites should eventually be able to do 1,000 tests a day,” Northam said.

Later, Northam acknowledged that a lot of people have made up their minds, but stressed the importance of community leaders to reach out.

“Today, more than 14 million shots have been given in Virginia. Close to 90% of the adult population has had at least one shot,” Northam said.

Northam also took time to thank medical staff, tout that Virginia is within top 10 states when it comes to vaccinations, and looked back on the things he is proud of accomplishing while serving as governor. Glenn Youngkin will be sworn in as governor Saturday, Jan. 15.

“Today our commonwealth does a better job of treating people right,” the governor said. “Today, we help people who need it.”

Asked about his stance of virtual learning for schools, Northam says students learn best in-class. He then encouraged parents to get their children vaccinated.

Northam says he has been in contact with Youngkin, and that he wants the next administration to be successful.

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