Thursday, December 8, 2022

Coronavirus: Northam bumps primary to later in June; asks General Assembly to move May elections to November

WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)
WYDaily file/Courtesy of Unsplash)

Gov. Ralph Northam has asked the General Assembly to move the May municipal elections to November “to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Northam, during a news conference Wednesday, also told reporters he signed an executive order moving the June 9 Congressional primaries to June 23.

“As other states have shown, conducting an election in the middle of this global pandemic would bring unprecedented challenges and potential risk to voters and those who work at polling places across the Commonwealth,” Northam said. “Making these decisions now will help election officials prepare and implement the necessary changes. This is about protecting the health and safety of Virginians during this pandemic and ensuring our citizens can make their voices heard in a safe, fair, and uniform manner. I urge the General Assembly to do their part and take action to move our upcoming elections.”

Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, Chesapeake, and Norfolk all have city council, school board or mayoral elections in May.

Moving the upcoming May elections requires action by the General Assembly, which reconvenes on April 22. The plan the Governor is proposing includes the following measures:

  • There will be one ballot in November.
  • Voters who are qualified in November will be able to vote in November. An individual who was not qualified in May but is qualified in November will be able to vote.
  • All absentee ballots already cast will be discarded. Virginians will have an opportunity to vote for local elected officials in November.
  • Those officials whose terms are to expire as of June 30, 2020 will continue in office until their successors have been elected on the November 3, 2020 and have been qualified to serve.

On the Peninsula as of Wednesday, James City County has 122 positive cases of the coronavirus, Newport News has 60, Hampton has 53, York County has 25, Williamsburg has 16 and Poquoson has 4, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s website.

There are 3,645 positive cases and 75 deaths statewide. At least eight people from the Peninsula Health District and one person from the Hampton Heath District have died from the coronavirus.

The Peninsula Health District covers Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and York County. The Hampton Health District covers Hampton.

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association has also broken down the number of confirmed cases in Virginia hospitals, those on ventilators and other case information.

Personal Protective Equipment

  • PPE: gloves, gowns, masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, N95.
  • 1.5 million gloves distributed.
  • 430,000 masks distributed.
  • Several thousand N95 masks shipped.
  • PPE sent to hospitals, nursing homes and other medical care facilities.
  • Working on getting more PPE.
  • Federal government: Virgiinia has received a tenth about what they requested.
  • First responders: Have PPE shortage? Let VDH known.

Health care

  • Total cases: 3,645 cases, 75 deaths.
  • Private labs: Testing capacity unknown.
  • Medical examiner- tests unnatural deaths such as suicide, homicides for coronavirus.
  • Surge data: unavailable, possibly in the next day or so.

Racial and ethnicity reporting

  • 53 percent of cases don’t have the data, same with deaths.
  • Cases reported: 1,381.
  • African-American: 386 cases (28 percent of total cases).
  • Latinx: 149 (12 percent of total cases).
  • Deaths reported: African-American 14 cases (18.7 percent), Latino 3 cases (4 percent).
  • 1970 populations numbers: black community made up 20 percent of state population.
  • Northam ask VDH to track data.
  • Private testing labs: not reporting.
  • Tests sent to labs, some specimens didn’t report it.
  • State health commission: will send out letter, encouraging clinicians to put down that information on test specimens.
  • Northam- will pass recommendation to open community centers for testing to office of diversity.
  • Outreach- working on mapping a campaign for African-American, Latinx and other vulnerable populations with messaging about COVID-19.

Health officials said the numbers are due to social inequities in society, noting there is a much higher concentration of communities of color in urban areas who are closer together, lack of access to health care, higher risk for diseases such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and therefore, a higher risk of death from COVID-19 and people in these communities tend to work in essential industries in close quarters with less opportunities to telework.

Other updates

  • Virginia ABC licenses- differ fees, licenses renewals through June. Those with mixed licenses, such as restaurants and distilleries, can delivery merchandise starting Thursday at midnight.
  • General assembly: 1,291 bill passed. Northam has acted on 864 of them, veto deadline is Saturday.
  • Passover- celebrate with household or hold Seder virtually.
  • Coworkers have COVID-19 and your boss didn’t tell you? File a complaint with the Department of Labor and Industries.
  • Unemployed: Can use 211 call center.
  • Strike teams at nursing homes? Not at this time.

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Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsiglianohttp://wydaily.com
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to julia@localvoicemedia.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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