NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that he would make an announcement on Thursday about new COVID-19 restrictions that are intended to slow the spread of coronavirus in the state.
He planned to detail the measures in a news conference at 2 p.m.
“We are going to take some measures to mitigate these numbers,” he said.
The added restrictions are in response to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases reported each day. There also has been an upward trending positivity rate.
“Obviously we look at the data and we know that the numbers are increasing because some people are choosing not to follow the guidelines, one of which is the most important: wearing these masks,” Northam said.
There were 4,398 new cases reported in Virginia on Wednesday, and 2,035 people were being treated for the disease in hospitals across the state.
In Hampton Roads, trends are pointing to Hampton on becoming a new coronavirus hotspot. The city has a 12.7% positivity rate. It’s the highest in the area.
“If we don’t get these numbers down in the communities, then we are going to have capacity issues at our hospitals and we don’t want to be in that position,” Northam explained.
Northam said there is a light at the end of this tunnel. It’s the COVID-19 vaccine.
He said the FDA is meeting Thursday and if all goes well, the vaccine could make its way to hospital workers in the next couple of days.
“We could start to see this vaccination being given to our public as soon as Monday or Tuesday, so we are excited about that,” Northam said.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced his own set of new restrictions on Tuesday. Those include a new, statewide curfew that starts Friday. People will have to stay home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., daily. On-site alcohol sales will have to end at 9 p.m.
Cooper said the measures will be in place into the new year.
Northam did not indicate if the additional restrictions he planned to announce would be oriented more towards business changes, stay-at-home orders, or a combination of both.