Va. government procuring medical equipment, Northam says
There are now 290 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth.
Update, 5:30 p.m., Tuesday: Two elderly Henrico County residents have died from COVID-19, the Virginia Department of Health reports. They were two of four cases reported last week at the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, and the statewide fatality number now stands at nine.
During his daily coronavirus press conference, Gov. Ralph Northam said that the state is working to source in-demand protective equipment for health care workers and has agreed to share excess ventilators with providers in Maryland and Washington, D.C., to be able to better address surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Northam also reiterated the importance of restrictions announced yesterday that impact a variety of businesses, and said that businesses needing clarification on the restrictions could email [email protected] to get answers. “These are not easy decisions because they will be painful for many people but every decision we make is based on science and data and as your governor, I take full responsibility. ”
In order to see economic recovery, Northam said, “we must get through the health crisis first.”
As of noon Tuesday, March 24, Virginia has 290 confirmed COVID-19 cases — up from 254 on Monday, according to the Virginia Department of Health. Forty-five Virginians are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus and seven have died. The largest clusters of cases are in the Arlington, Fairfax and Peninsula health district , according to State Epidemiologist Dr. Laurie Forlano. Notably, the New River Valley saw its first confirmed case, a woman in her 20s living in Radford.
There are more than 407,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than 18,200 deaths reported. There are about 50,000 cases confirmed in the United States, with 600 deaths so far.
The governor noted that the commonwealth has received its first shipment of medical supplies from the emergency medical stockpile and expects a second shipment next week. However, he added, “we know it will not be enough and this is an issue nationwide.”
State officials are looking to source personal protective gear for health care workers from dentists and the tech, coal and tobacco industries, Northam said. Some Virginia manufacturers are also looking at changing their production lines over to creating personal protective medical equipment and other needed items. A couple Virginia distilleries, for example, have begun manufacturing hand sanitizer, the governor said, and the state Department of Corrections has inmates making sneeze-guard masks, with 25,000 produced yesterday and another 25,000 expected to be made today.