Governor calls for federalized testing sites

Published 6:53 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

By Diana McFarland


While urging Virginians to stay home, wash their hands and practice social distancing, Gov. Ralph Northam, along with the leaders of Maryland and D.C., is urging the federal government to set up federalized testing sites for COVID-19. 

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The testing sites would be targeted for federal workers who are essential to keeping the government running, he said during his now thrice weekly COVID-19 updates. 

State officials reported that the Virginia state lab has the capacity to test 1,800 patients using the CDC test, but that requires manual processing. The supply chain is the problem now, according to state officials. 

Northam is also calling for a national solution to this pandemic, such as wartime levels of production of personal protective gear. 

He said that right now, states are bidding against each other for materials. 

Northam noted that many corporations have stepped up to donate items and urges other to do the same at

He said the state is also working to get manufacturers to produce this equipment. 

At the same time, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is identifying sites to create emergency beds, he said. 

Other actions taken by the governor is requesting federal funding for the Virginia National Guard. 

Northam also warned younger folks that there have been 93 cases of COVID-19 in the 20-29 age range out of a total of 604 today.

It just doesn’t affect older people, he said. 

“It affects all of us. Take this seriously and please stay home,” said Northam, adding that means staying home unless it’s essential. 

Other actions include closing down overnight stays at Virginia State Parks, with the same guidance applying to private campgrounds. 

On a lighter not, Northam said he wasn’t wearing a necktie because they have been found to harbor disease pathogens. Plus its more comfortable without one, he added.