Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Gov. Northam Declares State of Emergency As COVID-19 Hospitalizations Surge

Gov. Northam has announced a state of emergency for Virginia hospitals. (WYDaily file)

STATEWIDE — Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency for the next 30 days in response to the high number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In his final press briefing as governor, which took place on Monday, Jan. 10, Northam announced that he has issued a limited 30-day order primarily to expand the number of available hospital beds and increase staffing at hospitals.

On Friday, Jan. 7, Virginia hit a record number of hospitalizations with 3,329 newly hospitalized COVID-19 patients, as reported by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. This number breaks a record set in January 2021 just when vaccinations were just being distributed.

“It’s causing a real strain on the people who work in hospitals,” Northam said during Monday’s briefing. “Doctors and nurses have worked tirelessly for 22 months to care for people who have gotten sick. I say tirelessly, but it’s not really the right word, because they are tired. They’re exhausted and they’re burned out.”

The 30-day duration is based on data modeling which suggests that the virus is expected to peak in early February.

Northam encouraged the public to take steps in keeping themselves and others safe, including getting a booster shot and wearing masks around others.

Later in the briefing, Northam also stated that there are no plans for schools to return to virtual learning, saying that students learn best in-person. He also encouraged parents to get their children ages 5 and older vaccinated to make it safer for them to be in school.

This was Northam’s final briefing before Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is sworn in on Saturday, Jan. 15.

For more resources, please click the links below:

  • To learn more or to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, contact your healthcare provider or visit the website for Vaccinate Virginia.
  • For more information regarding current vaccinations for COVID-19, visit the website for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • To find the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), click here.
  • To see the current COVID-19 map courtesy of Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, click here.

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