Governor Northam’s COVID-19 Briefing – 5/1/2020


  • Virginia administered over 5,800 tests yesterday, the highest number administered in one day thus far.
  • Non-emergent procedures were able to resume as of today, May 1.


  • Virginia is receiving three PPE decontamination units in the coming weeks.
  • Each of these units can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks and gowns per day using hydrogen peroxide vapor, meaning that Virginia will soon have the capability to clean and re-use 240,000 masks per day.
  • The first of these units is being set up in Blacksburg, to be shared with both West Virginia and Tennessee.
    • The other two units will be built in the Richmond and Hampton Roads areas.
  • Virginia reached our highest number of tests administered yesterday with over 5,800 tests.
  • The CDC has issued new specimen collection guidelines that will make testing both safer and more accessible.
    • Specimens can now be collected with nasal swabs instead of nasal pharyngeal swabs.
      • These are both easier to administer and more readily available.
  • Virginia is contracting with two in-state private labs, and another in North Carolina, to increase testing capability by an additional 3,000 tests per day.
  • As testing capability increases steadily, any individual who believes that they are showing symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to seek testing from their healthcare provider.


  • Total cases: 16,901
    • 1,055 new cases in the last 24 hour reporting period
  • Total deaths: 581
    • 29 new deaths in the last 24 hour reporting period
  • Total tests administered: 105,648
  • Reporting methodology has changed from showing the total number of individuals tested, to now show the total number of tests administered.
    • Now, each test, even if one individual was given multiple different tests, will be reported.
    • This will make the ratio of positive tests to total tests as accurate as possible.


  • The task force created by the Governor to prevent and manage outbreaks in long term care facilities is now conducting “point prevalence surveys” in any facility with 2 or more positive cases.
    • In these surveys, every individual in the facility is tested in the same day.
  • Any facility with a suspected case can request comprehensive testing from their local health district, and are encouraged to do so.
    • The National Guard is available to assist in administering the tests.


  • Governor Northam proposed a budget amendment that would allow Games of Skill to remain open in restaurants and convenience stores for one more year, being taxed monthly at $1,200 per machine.
    • This additional revenue would go into a COVID-19 relief fund for these businesses.