Northam: Stay home

Published 12:48 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Order asks Virginians to limit activity until June 10

By Diana McFarland


All Virginians have been ordered to stay home until June 10 by Gov. Ralph Northam. 

In his regular COVID-19 update Monday, Northam chastised those who have ignored the order to maintain social distancing, citing reports of large groups at local beaches and other locations. 

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“Our message today is clear — stay home,” he said, adding that those who have ignored the social distancing order have put everyone, and particularly health care providers, at risk. 

“We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time,” said Northam.

The order asks Virginians to only leave their homes to obtain groceries, medicine and other supplies, go to work if necessary, but work at home, if possible. Virginians can leave their homes to obtain medical care, fresh air, to exercise or to care for family members. 

Do not go out unless one needs to go out and do not make unnecessary trips to the store, he said. 

Those traveling from other states are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, said Northam. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The executive order also directs all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise.

For those who continue to scoff the social distancing order, Northam said, “I will remind those folks that you are being very, very selfish. You are putting everyone, especially our health care providers, at risk.”

Northam said the number of COVID-19 cases today reflect behavior that occurred two to three weeks ago. 

What Virginia will see in the next two to three weeks will reflect how people are behaving today, said Northam.

“It will take time to show results,” he said. 

As of Tuesday, there were 1,250 cases of COVID-19 in Virginia, with 165 hospitalizations and 27 deaths, according to the Virginia Department of Health. 

So far, there have been four cases each in Isle of Wight County and Suffolk, one in Southampton County and one in Franklin, according to VDH. Surry County reported its first case Tuesday — a 70-year-old woman who is now hospitalized, according to the Crater Health District. 

Fairfax County has by far the most cases, at 244, as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, tracking the number of people who have recovered from the illness depends upon the capacity of the local health district, said Laurie Forlano, deputy commissioner of population health in the Virginia Department of Health.  

Last week, Northam issued Executive Order 53, closing certain non-essential businesses, prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people, and directing all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Northam said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as health systems and other organizations, such as colleges and universities, are working to identify sites to set up temporary beds for a possible surge in patients. Elective surgeries have also been postponed to keep beds available, said Northam. 

The Port of Virginia remains open, with shipments of personal protective equipment being prioritized, said Northam. 

Other actions by the Northam Administration include obtaining federal funding for the National Guard, and requesting major disaster status from the federal government, which would expand unemployment benefits, as well as food and transitional housing assistance. Northam’s Administration also approved state-wide emergency food assistance, as there has been a 20-30 percent increase in requests.

Help is available

For those seeking food assistance, visit

For those seeking assistance in other areas, call 211

For those suffering from domestic abuse, call the hotline at 1-800-838-8238.  {/mprestriction}