- Today’s remarks from the Governor focused on
three main topics:
- Alternative care sites as we prepare for surge capacity
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- National Census
- The Governor also reiterated his previous
executive orders and emergency declarations.
- “Stay home.”
- The EO is longer than most other states (through 6/10/2020).
- We must be realistic and know the truth of the situation.
- The Governor acknowledged the challenges and hardships Virginians are experiencing.
- The virus needs hosts – humans – to survive. Stay home and only go out if you really need to; the more people who stay home, the fewer people will get sick.
ALTERNATIVE CARE SITES
- 41 sites in Virginia have been evaluated by the
Army Corps of Engineers and its state partners.
- Exxon Mobile facility in Fairfax, next door to Inova system
- Hampton Convention Center, central to Sentara and Riverside systems
- Site in Richmond area – decision will be announced on Friday
- Models indicate that surge peak will arrive in late April or early May.
- Alternative sites are based on greatest need, population, and risk of spread.
- The state is also assessing sites west of
- HHR/VDH team visiting Charlottesville next week
- State is exploring sites to set up hospital services and treatment areas through public-private partnerships.
- There will be a need for additional PPE at alternative care sites which will face the same PPE constraints as current hospital needs.
- Third shipment of PPE arrived from national stockpile this week but Virginia needs more.
- We need as much PPE as we can get. We are competing with each other, other states and other countries for PPE.
- Virginia is working to ensure healthcare and frontline workers have PPE.
- Healthcare system is burning through PPE supplies; very high demand.
- Administration is exploring manufacturing and other sources for more PPE.
- April 1 is National Census Day. It is important
to complete census forms.
- Can be completed by mail or online at www.2020census.gov
- An accurate census count is crucial for:
- Federal funding, which is critical to recovery
- Congressional seats
- Public safety planning and more
- Funding for Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP, WIC, housing, school meals, grants, student loans, community centers, other programs
- Everyone should complete it; responses are kept confidential
- Virginia is 8th in the nation in response rate, 40% of households responded.
- Call the Census Bureau Customer Service Center at 1-800-923-8282 or 301-763-INFO (4636).
- May local elections and June congressional primaries in Virginia this year.
- Administration is working on best options on how to hold elections during this crisis.
- Citizens are encouraged to vote absentee by mail; can ask neighbor to witness the absentee ballot from a safe distance.
- Candidates and campaigns should think outside the box and use social media.
COVID-19 CASES AND STATISTICS
- Numbers are updated at 9am daily on VDH website.
- 1484 cases, 234 new cases since yesterday
- 34 deaths, 7 more than previous 24 hours
- Cluster of higher cases in Northern Virginia, Central Virginia and the Peninsula
- 305 hospitalizations, 145 in ICU, 108 patients on ventilator support
- Administration is working on epidemic modeling.
- UVA is working with the state on a model specifically for Virginia.
- The model should be ready within a week and VDH will report when it is fully operational.
TESTING AND CAPACITY
- There are fewer cases in Southwest Virginia likely because of lower population and density.
- Testing criteria is the same/consistent across the state.
- Criteria for testing is set by VDH and has been broadened since the beginning of the pandemic.
- There is a limited number of tests so VDH has to be selective and focused on high risk areas; no plans to change criteria at this time.
- State lab has completed evaluations of automation and running higher batches; as a result, has been able to double throughput from 100 per day to 200 per day.
- VDH has 2000 tests inhouse and expecting more this week.
- Test have a 20-30 minute turnaround time.
- Testing will also be important as we come off curve and get back to normal.
HEALTH AND HOSPITAL SYSTEMS
- Military hospitals are coordinating with local health systems.
- State is working with hospital systems to prepare for surge capacity and is sharing information constantly.
- The Administration is aware of the Virginia
Hospital and Healthcare Association’s letter requesting to open military and VA
hospitals for COVID-19 response
- Administration is communicating with heads of military and VA hospitals, which are also preparing for their own surge capacity and their own patients.
CORRECTIONS AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
- Two out of forty-one state corrections facilities have experienced positive cases.
- These facilities are on modified lockdown and are following the applicable CDC guidelines and implementing plans to quarantine inmates and conduct contact investigation to contain spread.
- The Parole Board is working overtime to expedite review.
- 95-96 individuals were released in March, 153%
increase from previous month.
- Still considering public safety but looking more closely at early release.
- DOC is working to ensure inmate safety while operating under current criminal justice system.
- Secretary of Public Safety is in regular contact with local public safety officials regarding jail population and safety.
- Local officials are responding by trying to find ways to avoid low level offenders unnecessarily entering the justice system.
- Many localities are reducing the inmate population and following CDC guidelines in facilities.
- Law enforcement is taking the ban on groups of 10 more seriously, especially in Hampton Roads and its beaches.
LOCAL AND STATE BUDGETS
- State and local revenues are taking major hits, but right now the state is focused on public health response and obtaining PPE.
- The Governor is looking at various legislation, such as the minimum wage, that passed this session regarding the business environment, and is talking to businesses, labor and other stakeholders.
- No decisions have been made on amending legislation; will make a decision after consulting with stakeholders.
- Localities are asking the state not to delay taxes because much of that revenue goes to localities.
- The state is required to keep a balanced budget. The Administration wants to avoid drastic last-minute action by the Governor to avoid a shortfall when we need resources the most.
HOUSING, EMPLOYMENT AND OTHER TOPICS
- Governor acknowledges that rent or mortgage payments are due the first of the month.
- Residents should apply for unemployment if necessary.
- Virginia has asked for individuals to be able to defer loan payments on federal housing loans.
- Virginia is suspending evictions for those with public housing vouchers.
- A statewide judicial emergency has already been issued that suspends evictions proceedings through 4-26-2020.
- Governor acknowledges there are religious holidays of various faiths this month.
- For everyone’s safety, we need to find other (non-inperson) ways to celebrate our faith.
- Faith leaders will issue more guidelines and suggestions on Friday.
- Secretaries of Commerce & Trade and Finance Secretary are working on assistance to homeless.