Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing – 5/15/2020

TOPLINE UPDATES

  • Phase One is beginning in much of the state today.
    • “Entering Phase One does not mean we can start to behave how we used to.”
  • Yesterday, Governor Northam approved a request similar to that of Northern Virginia leaders to delay the beginning of Phase One in the City of Richmond and Accomack County.
    • These delayed areas will now plan to enter Phase One on May 28.

HOSPITALS, PPE AND TESTING

  • PCR tests and antibody tests have been disaggregated in VDH data reports, and will now be reported separately.
    • This change has not had an effect on testing trends, with testing numbers still increasing and positive case numbers still decreasing.
    • Antibody tests currently make up about 9% of the total tests administered in Virginia.
  • Virginia now has 215 testing sites, with 52 new sites currently being prepared to open.
    • This includes hospitals, free clinics, pharmacies, and more.
  • $121 million has been appropriated through VDEM for purchase of PPE.
    • This includes an additional $32.3 million for testing.
  • The VDH has received close to 4,000 applications for contact tracers as they ramp up this ability in each health district.                
    • Onboarding plans for these new workers are being finalized.

COVID-19 CASES, STATISTICS AND MODELING

  • Total cases: 28,672
    • 859 new in the last 24 hour reporting period
  • Total deaths: 977
    • 22 new in the last 24 hour reporting period
  • 4,586 cases (23%) have been reported in the African American community.
    • This includes 207 deaths, about 24% of Virginia’s total.
  • 8,466 cases (44%) have been reported in the Latino community.
    • This includes 76 deaths, about 10% of the total.

STATE REVENUE REPORT

  • The first monthly revenue report that shows the impact of COVID-19 closures on Virginia’s economy was completed yesterday.
  • April revenue collection was down 26%, which is $700 million less than usual.
  • The current prediction is that Virginia will see a loss of about $1 billion by the end of June.
  • Secretary of Finance Lane says that Virginia’s economic activity “held up well”, likely due to the strength of the economy before COVID-19.
    • This has not been a “total shutdown” of economic activity.
  • 20% of revenue comes from sales taxes, which remained even throughout the month of April.
    • This reflects a successful move from in-person purchases to socially distanced purchases.
  • The majority of revenue loss for the month of April is due to the extension of the tax filing deadline from May 1 to June 1.
    • The picture of the true state of the economy will become more clear as tax payments come in.  
  • $650 million from the CARES Act is expected to be distributed to localities by June 1.
    • These funds can be used to offset costs directly related to the COVID-19 response.

OTHER TOPICS

  • Governor Northam continues to encourage Virginian’s to vote through absentee ballot in next week’s local elections.
    • Younger, less at-risk, members of the National Guard and the Volunteer Medical Corps are being used to staff polling places in the place of older people who may be more at-risk of contracting the virus.
    • The state will also provide PPE and cleaning equipment for all polling places and staffers.
  • A lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Corrections citing cruel and unusual punishment during the COVID-19 outbreak has been dismissed.
    • Secretary Moran ensures the public that the DOC is following all CDC guidelines, including efforts to maintain separation of inmates.