Gov. Ralph Northam issues emergency order to help hospitals dealing with COVID spike

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 12:48 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) - Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia Emergency Support Team held a press briefing Monday, January 10 at 1:00 p.m. to provide updates on the commonwealth’s response to COVID-19.

During the press briefing, Northam declared a state of emergency for 30 days to ease pressure on hospitals in the state that are overwhelmed with patients.

The order will allow hospitals to expand bed capacity and increase staffing capacity at hospitals and nursing homes.

“They are tired, they are exhausted, they are burnt out,” the governor said.

Northam began by addressing the omicron variant and pointing out that cases are higher than they have ever been.

He said the variant is reason for concern, but not for panic. Vaccinations are keeping cases mild for those who have contracted the virus but have gotten their shot.

“Vaccines work, plain and simple,” said Northam. “Please get vaccinated.”

The governor presented a charts showing the peaks in cases from Dec. 2020 to now. He said they expect cases to peak in early February, which state officials hope will align with the 30-day emergency order.

He also addressed supply issues with testing. He said PCR tests are not in short supply and rapid tests are becoming more available, but they are opening larger testing sites to allow for 500 tests per day.

He said that virtual school will not be happening, as they are following CDC guidelines and vaccines for children 5 and up are widely available.

Northam added that the transition of power with governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has been smooth, and that they are on the same page.

“Every day I have felt so proud and grateful for you, Virginia,” Northam said. “We are leaving this commonwealth better than it was when we came into office.”

You can watch the full press conference below, or on our Facebook page.

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