Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam were notified Sept. 23 that a member of the governor’s official residence staff, who works closely within the couple’s living quarters, had developed symptoms and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
Both the governor and first lady received PCR nasal swab tests Sept. 24 afternoon, and both tested positive. The governor is experiencing no symptoms. The first lady is currently experiencing mild symptoms. Both remain in good spirits.
Consistent with guidelines from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the governor and first lady will isolate for the next 10 days and evaluate their symptoms. The governor is in constant contact with his cabinet and staff and will fulfill his duties from the executive mansion.
Both the governor and the first lady visited Fairfax County earlier this month. However, individuals who spent time with the first lady September 16 are not at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and do not need to seek out testing because this date falls outside the infectious period, according to Tina Dale, communications specialist with the Fairfax County Health Department.
"Governor Northam’s visit to Mason is near the time frame when he received his positive COVID-19 test result," explained Dale. "While the Richmond Health Department is leading the investigation, the Fairfax County Health Department will notify any of the identified close contacts who reside in Fairfax. When an individual is identified as a close contact, our contact tracing staff reach out to those individuals to provide public health guidance to slow the spread of illness."
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” said the governor. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of. We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us—and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians—is to take this seriously.”
The governor and first lady are working closely with VDH and the Richmond Heath Department to trace their close contacts. The executive mansion and Patrick Henry office building were closed for deep cleaning Sept. 25. The work of the governor’s office continues remotely and uninterrupted.