Governor Northam is pointing to southwest Virginia as the state’s most worrisome region right now for increased COVID-19 cases, but he is not yet ordering tighter restrictions. Northam says the daily number of statewide cases is “moderately contained”, but he pointed with concern to the count in the southwest region, which has risen from about 80 a day on average two months ago to about 220 now. The region includes several large colleges, including Radford and Virginia Tech. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday that COVID-19 is “moderately contained” in Virginia, but he’s not ready to make any changes to existing restrictions on gatherings or businesses before Labor Day.
“Now is the time to double down on what we know is working so we can set ourselves up for success this fall,” Northam said at a news conference in Richmond.
Northam implemented tighter restrictions on the Hampton Roads region in late July, citing an increase in new cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and positive tests. Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer recently asked the governor to loosen them ahead of the holiday weekend, The Virginian-Pilot reported.
“I understand from a business perspective the importance of Labor Day, but we have come too far to go back,” he said.
Northam said Virginia’s positivity rate hovering around 7% shows the state is doing fairly well in containing the virus.
“Large gatherings are still not a good idea,” he said, urging people to socialize outdoors, wear face coverings and stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart from others. He also recommended Virginians make plans to get the flu shot.
The governor also announced he was extending by 60 days the validity of driver’s licenses, learner’s permits and ID cards set to expire in August, September and October, giving people more time to renew them.