Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing – 5/20/2020


  • Local elections were held successfully yesterday across the Commonwealth.
    • Governor Northam commended the thousands of people who voted through mail-in absentee ballot, and encouraged Virginians to do the same in the upcoming primary elections on June 23.
  • The Governor’s office is now broadcasting the briefings in Spanish through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

FORWARD VIRGINIA PLAN: Phase One – Began Friday, May 15th

  • The counties that have delayed entering Phase 1 continue to be in Phase 0, while the rest of Virginia slowly re-opens successfully.
    • When data in these Phase 0 areas supports a successful re-opening, they will be able to enter Phase 1.
  • Governor Northam and the VDH will continue to follow CDC guidelines and data trends to determine movement through the phases of re-opening.
    • The CDC has stipulated a downward trend in percent-positivity, across a 14 day period, in order to move from one phase to the next.


  • The VDH is now able to report case numbers by zip code.
  • 9,782 PCR and 426 antibody tests were administered yesterday, totaling over 10,000 tests.
  • Percent-positivity is continuing to trending downward in Virginia.
  • Virginian’s can seek testing from their providers, local clinics, and community testing events.
    • While those showing symptoms are a priority, community testing events are open to all, so long as there are tests available.
  • $58 million from the CARES Act has been directed to ramp up contact tracing to keep up with increased testing.
  • The Virginia Emergency Support Team (VEST) has been responsible for distributing Virginia’s PPE throughout the state.
    • Health districts report need for PPE to the VDH, who helps the Emergency Support Team to determine where PPE should be distributed.
      • Providers have been asked to exhaust their private supply chains before requesting state-provided PPE, but are always encouraged to reach out to the state for any help they may need.
    • So far, Virginia has distributed:
      • 793,675 N95 masks
      • 1.3 million surgical masks
      • 3 million gloves
      • 285,031 gowns
      • 427,425 face shields
      • 24,359 containers of hand sanitizer
  • The Department of General Services has established a new rapid-review process for vendors selling COVID-19 PPE.
    • The list of approved vendors is available at
  • Each skilled nursing facility in Virginia will receive a shipment of PPE from FEMA.


  • Total cases: 32,908
    • 763 new in the last 24 hour reporting period.
  • Total deaths: 1,074
    • 33 new in the last 24 hour reporting period.
  • 235,199 total tests (PCR and antibody) administered.
  • 5,082 cases (23%) in Virginia are in the  African American community.
    • This includes 226 deaths (24%).
  • 10,167 cases (46%) in Virginia are in the Latinx community.
    • This includes 87 deaths (10%).


  • Local elections were held yesterday and “went smoothly” throughout the state.
  • Social distancing and sanitation measures were able to be successfully implemented at polling sites.
  • 55,000 people voted through absentee by mail ballots.
  • Primaries will be held on June 23.
    • The Department of Elections has begun preparing to hold the elections safely.
      • Poll workers will be provided PPE and sanitizing equipment, and all voters are encouraged to wear a face covering.
    • Deadline to request an absentee ballot is midnight on June 15.