‘Everything is on the table’: Virginia governor to announce new COVID-19 restrictions

Around the South

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Gov. Ralph Northam has scheduled a highly anticipated coronavirus briefing for Thursday afternoon.

Northam’s office confirmed Wednesday afternoon with WAVY sister station WRIC in Richmond that Northam, like the leaders of our bordering North Carolina, will implement some new restrictions to mitigate the rising number of cases of the virus in the commonwealth.

The office did not share any other information about what those restrictions might be, but they said the measures “will be nuanced” and “in line with our targeted, data-driven response.”

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A source familiar with the announcement told WRIC’s Jackie DeFusco that there will not be a lockdown or shutdown.

On Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health reported the highest single-day increase of 4,398 new coronavirus cases. COVID-19 hospitalizations in Virginia also topped 2,000 patients for the first time.

10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox asked Northam about the recent spike in cases while the governor was in Hampton Roads Wednesday to promote the ACA Health Insurance Marketplace, commonly referred to as Obamacare.

Northam said he is greatly concerned that the COVID-19 cases are spiking in Virginia. He said that, as far as more restrictions, “Everything is on the table right now, and so I will make those announcements [Thursday].”

Northam also said he was concerned about large gatherings continuing to persist.

“We know people gather in large groups and we know that is a problem, and we will take some measures to mitigate those numbers,” he said.

President-elect Joe Biden said he wants Americans to commit to 100 days of wearing masks as one of his first acts as president. When asked if Northam believes Virginians should be required to wear face coverings for the next hundred days, he said that would be a good idea. “For our president-elect to say that everybody needs to wear a mask for 100 days, I support that and we’ll certainly follow that in Virginia.”

Northam says there’s light at the end of the dark COVID-19 tunnel: vaccinations and possible FDA approval expected this week.

“We are anxiously awaiting their recommendations and we could see this vaccination being given to our public Monday or Tuesday so we are excited by that,” Northam said.

The topic of masks will likely be discussed at the Thursday news conference, which is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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