• The Governor advises everyone to wear face coverings (or masks) when outside their homes, per new CDC guidelines.
o Corona virus can be transmitted through airborne molecules, and asymptomatic people can have and transmit the virus, so a face covering can offer some protection for everyone, both the sick and healthy.
o People do not need a medical grade mask; you can make your own based on various tips that can be found online. Face coverings should cover nose and mouth, and washed daily if made of cloth or other washable material.
o Face coverings do not provide total protection and people should not resume normal activity; social distancing is still important.
o State law against covering face in public won’t be enforced.
- Virginia has signed a $27M contract with Northfield to purchase PPE. The first shipment from Asia should arrive in a week.
- Virginia’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, CDC and other partners are building a virtual library of genetic information to learn more about the coronavirus, including where and how it was spread in Virginia, in order to help medical professionals better understand the virus.
- Contracts with the Dulles Expo Center, Hampton Roads Convention Center, and Greater Richmond Convention Center have been signed, and building of alternative care sites at these locations will begin this week.
- The Governor thanks Virginians for complying with social distancing and staying at home; he acknowledges that it is difficult but essential in order to protect everyone of all ages.
- The $27M contract for PPE from Northfield is a one-time purchase but additional purchases are expected as needed.
o This purchase will be received in multiple receipts, the first of which is expected this weekend.
o The purchase is for N95 masks, gloves, gowns, and other PPE.
- Shipment of hand sanitizer has been received and distributed.
- VDH shipped 1 million old H1N1 masks and supplies to be reconditioned and distributed by the VHHA.
- VDH has distributed the third round of PPE from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to hospitals but it's a fraction of what was requested, and Virginia needs much more.
- Virginia needs more testing capability.
- Sentara hospitals are now doing in-house testing, which should speed up process with the goal of a 20-30-minute turnaround time.
- This is National Public Health Week, and the Governor thanks all public health workers.
- The state is also working on assistance to the aging and disabled populations.
- Rapid turnaround tests of 10-15 minutes are available but require specific equipment and the necessary volume of them is not currently available.
- Sentara, UVA, VCU, and state labs are increasing testing capacity.
- Commercial labs are also ramping up (turnaround time has not shortened from 5-7 days; continuing to work through backlog). Other new private labs are starting up as well so they can share the testing burden.
- It is important to know if patients in hospitals test positive or not so as to direct and treat patients accordingly.
COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING
- 2,878 cases, 241 new in last 24 hours
- 54 deaths, 3 new deaths in last 24 hours
- Number of recoveries and hospital discharges is not tracked by VDH.
- Because we do not have widespread testing, numbers are probably underreported. Many people may have coronavirus but don’t know it.
- The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association (VHHA) tracks the current hospital census.
- Models change because data is changing daily, including the national University of Washington model.
- UVA’s model for Virginia is expected this week. Governor Northam’s administration is looking at different models and sticking with current efforts.
- The Governor attended a conference call today with Vice President Pence and other governors regarding modeling, PPE, the national supply chain, and testing. The Vice President’s message is to continue with social distancing and sanitizing guidelines.
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES
- VDH and its local departments are working closely with long term care and nursing facilities to identify and isolate cases.
- Number of cases in nursing homes across the state is forthcoming.
- Nursing homes are sharing information so management and staff can be prepared.
PAROLE, CLEMENCY AND OTHER TOPICS
- The Administration is following state protocols and legal requirements on parole.
- The Parole Board and staff are working around the clock to expedite review.
- No executive order is expected on this issue.
- The Governor cannot issue blanket clemency, only on an individualized basis.
- Department of Corrections is working to protect inmates and staff through various measures and following CDC guidelines.
- The state is distributing 56K ready meals to food banks, a 6-week supply.
- The construction industry should adhere to same public health guidelines.
Next briefing: Wednesday, April 8 at 2:00PM.
NOTE: This is an informal and timely summary of the Governor’s live press briefing. To access recordings of the briefings, visit https://www.facebook.com/GovernorVA/. To access the Governor’s official news releases, visit https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/news-releases/.