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‘We all want to end this pandemic’: Northam bans gatherings of 100+ people as coronavirus cases rise in Virginia

Governor Northam announces updates on COVID-19
Governor Northam announces updates on COVID-19(WHSV)
Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 4:48 PM EDT
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Governor Ralph Northam announced a ban on all gatherings of 100 people or more statewide Sunday amid a rise in coronavirus cases in Virginia.

The governor also confirmed a total of 45 COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth, while also confirming one related death in the peninsula district.

The district - that covers Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County and York County - currently has 8 confirmed cases. Due to the “cluster” of cases, the governor ordered a shutdown of municipal offices there.

The governor also placed a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more in the peninsula, half of what is being recommended statewide.

Local officials stated the outbreak will get worse before it gets better, but Northam said it is not yet time for quarantine.

“We ask people to use common sense,” said Governor Northam. "What we are trying to achieve here is the kind of social distancing that experts tell us is critical to stop the spread of the virus.

At a press conference Sunday, Northam said the ban on large gatherings does not apply to restaurants, bars and offices.

The Virginia Department of Health continues to update its site with the latest information on coronavirus. The department says it currently has the capability to test 340 to 470 people. Orders for more are expected to arrive this week.