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Gov. Northam addresses coronavirus testing options for Virginians

Virginia conducts roughly 10,000 tests a day, but state health officials said the health department’s site does not reflect those numbers at this time.

RICHMOND, Va. — Gov. Ralph Northam said during Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing that Virginians have several ways to get tested for COVID-19 as the state inches closer to reaching 10,000 tests per day, a goal set by the governor earlier in the month.

Virginia conducts roughly 10,000 tests a day, but state health officials said the health department’s site does not reflect those numbers at this time. 

In his news briefing, Northam addressed the multiple options to get tested in Virginia, including the expansion of testing events.

“There are a few different ways that one can get tested,” Northam said. “One is to go to your provider or your local clinic. Another is the community testing events that the department of health is organizing in targeted locations around the commonwealth. While people who have symptoms are a priority, everyone is welcome at testing events as long as tests are available.”

RELATED: LIST: Where you can get tested for coronavirus in the DMV

Phase 1 of Northam's "Forward Virginia" plan has already started in most of the state, with the exception of Northern Virginia, the city of Richmond, and Accomack County on the Eastern Shore. 

Northam said the first weekend of reopening in Virginia was a success.

Virginia Health Department reports 765 new cases of COVID-19, with 33 additional deaths in the commonwealth as of May 20. The state's 7-day average for new cases has been flat for almost a week; a first for the commonwealth.

Northam officially delayed the start of Phase 1 of his "Forward Virginia" reopening plan for Northern Virginia on May 12 in a new executive order.

Executive Order 62, signed by Governor Northam, gives specific localities in Northern Virginia the ability to keep current COVID-19 business restrictions in place for longer than in the rest of the commonwealth.

Northam said most of the state has a 10% positive rate for the coronavirus, while the Northern Virginia area's positive rate is 25%.

RELATED: New details released on Phase 1 of reopening in Virginia

A few counties in Northern Virginia accounted for more than 70% of new positive tests the state got over last weekend. Because of these higher than average coronavirus cases, Northam originally stated that he would work with leaders in the area to slow its reopening. 

As I have said, it’s important that the commonwealth as a whole can meet key health metrics before moving into Phase 1. The Phase 1 policies are a floor, not a ceiling,” Northam said in a statement. 

Executive Order 62 extends the “Phase Zero” restrictions in Northern Virginia until May 29.

Virginia localities that did not reopen on May 15, and instead target May 29:

  • Loudoun County
  • Fairfax County
  • City of Alexandria
  • Arlington County
  • Prince William County
  • Fairfax City
  • Manassas 
  • Manassas Park
  • Falls Church
  • Herndon
  • Dumfries
  • Leesburg
  • Vienna
  • Elective surgeries
  • Veterinarian offices  
  • Dental offices
  • Outdoor exercise
  • Travel to medical appointments
  • Engage in essential activities, including obtaining medical care that cannot be provided through telehealth and obtaining food and essential household goods;
  • Travel to your essential job
  • Grocery stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Other retailers that sell food and beverage products or pharmacy products, including dollar stores, and department stores with grocery or pharmacy operations;
  • Medical, laboratory, and vision supply retailers;
  • Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology;
  • Automotive parts, accessories, and tire retailers as well as automotive repair facilities;
  • Home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers;
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers;
  • Beer, wine, and liquor stores;
  • Retail functions of gas stations and convenience stores;
  • Retail located within healthcare facilities;
  • Banks and other financial institutions with retail functions;
  • Pet stores and feed stores;
  • Printing and office supply stores; and
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners

You still aren't allowed to gather in groups of 10 or more people, and social distancing is required.

“While the data shows Virginia as a whole is ready to slowly and deliberately ease some restrictions, it is too soon for Northern Virginia. I support the request from localities in this region to delay implementation of Phase 1 to protect public health,” Northam said. 

RELATED: Appointment-free coronavirus testing begins in Maryland on Thursday

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