May 13, 2020

Ralph Northam Virginia COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 13

Virginia governor Ralph Northam gave a May 13 COVID-19
RevBlogTranscriptsCOVID-19 Briefing & Press Conference TranscriptsRalph Northam Virginia COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript May 13

Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia held a coronavirus press conference on May 13. He said he would “go ahead” with reopening Virginia on Friday, but without Northern Virginia where reopening will be delayed.


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Governor Ralph Northam: (00:00)
Later today by some local officials from Northern Virginia to talk about how we are working together regarding phase one in that region. First in March, I closed all of our DMVs to customer service locations as we work through the spread of this virus. Starting Monday, we will begin to allow a few DMV customer service centers to open back up to the public for a select number of services. We’ll start with 11 DMV centers in seven of eight regions. Northern Virginia centers will not open at this time. These open centers will focus only on services that require someone to come to DMV in person. Things like getting an original driver’s license or original vehicle registration or title, disabled parking permits and vital records. These services will be provided by appointment only and customers will wait in their vehicles. Anyone who can use DMV’s online services should continue to do so. As we continue to ramp up testing, we did 8,845 test yesterday, which is closer to our goal.

Governor Ralph Northam: (01:29)
We’re doing more testing at longterm care facilities and around the state. Pharmacies and drug stores are stepping up to help with testing. Rite Aid has been doing testing in two sites, performing more than 1200 swab PCR tests through this past Monday. I’m grateful to these retailers that are working with us to increase our testing and we’ll continue to see more of this. For example, in the coming days I think we’ll hear some exciting news about Walmart and their testing efforts. As we have said, robust testing is a critical piece of our plan to slowly ease restrictions in phase one. We are getting there, and that is one reason why I feel comfortable in allowing phase one to begin this Friday for most of our Commonwealth. As we have discussed in these briefings, moving to phase one depends on meeting a set of health metrics an increasing number of tests, a downward trend in the percent of tests that come back positive, a downward trend in the number of COVID patients in our hospitals, the availability of hospital beds and the availability of PPE.

Governor Ralph Northam: (02:51)
As a Commonwealth, these metrics are trending in the right direction. Phase one will not be like turning on a light switch. We will restrict nonessential, retail and houses of worship to 50% of the building’s capacity. Gyms and fitness centers must remain close, but we’ll allow them to do outdoor fitness options until we get into phase two. Restaurants must remain closed, but we will allow those with outdoor seating to use that at 50% capacity. We’ll allow salons and barbershops to operate with strict requirements for social distancing and face coverings. And we will follow the same metrics which allowed us to get into phase one when we determine entering phases two and three. We know that working parents need a safe and healthy place so they can return to work. During phase one our childcare centers will continue to prioritize the children of all working families while abiding by social distancing and cleaning requirements. The health and safety of children, families, and staff is a top priority. Employees who need to find childcare so they can return to work can call 866KIDSTLC.

Governor Ralph Northam: (04:22)
So I’ll repeat that, 866KIDSTLC. But I want to emphasize as we enter phase one, we will still maintain the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people. We still urge businesses to keep their employees teleworking and we strongly encourage the use of face coverings in public. We’ll require face mask for some businesses such as restaurants and salons, and require essential retail businesses to provide masks for their employees. More detailed guidance for phase one is available on our website. Phase one represents a small step forward, but we will remain vigilant. We will continue to monitor health data closely. I again want to remind all Virginians, this virus has not gone away and everyone needs to act accordingly. Continue to stay six feet from others, wear face coverings, not just to protect yourself, but to protect other people.

Governor Ralph Northam: (05:37)
You will be safer at home unless you need to go out. Moving forward requires us all to act responsibly. We cannot act as if things are back to normal because they are clearly not. Phase one is a floor, not a ceiling. And I’m open to some regions moving more slowly. I have said that if specific regions are not meeting the health metrics, our administration will work with them on delaying implementation of phase one. That is what localities in the Northern Virginia region have done. Northern Virginia is our most populous region by far and shares its economy and its workforce with DC and Maryland. Our health metrics show that the majority of Virginia’s positive cases are in the Northern Virginia region. And while that region’s percentage of positive tests is trending downward, it still has a higher percent of positive cases and of people hospitalized with a positive or pending test.

Governor Ralph Northam: (06:49)
So I have delayed the implementation of phase one in Northern Virginia for an additional two weeks. I thanked the officials in those localities for the cooperation in working with us on this. Today we have some of them joining us electronically and I have invited them to offer some words. So in the following order, you will hear from mayor David Tarter of Falls Church, he will be followed by Fairfax County chair Jeff McKay, followed by Arlington County chair Libby Garvey, followed by Loudon County chair Phyllis Randal, who will be followed by Prince William chair Ann Wheeler. And then finally be followed by Alexander mayor Justin Wilson. So hopefully our technology will be favorable to us today, but please welcome David Tarter who’s the mayor of the city of Falls Church and also chairman of the Northern Virginia regional commission, mayor Tarter.

David Tarter: (07:56)
Thank you, governor. As you’ve just heard I’m David Tarter mayor of the city of Falls Church and chair of the Northern Virginia regional commission. The Northern Virginia regional commission is a consortium of 13 local governments. The group collectively represents about 2.5 million people and about 40% of the state’s GDP. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve been meeting virtually twice a week data to coordinate our efforts and of response. We’ve been sharing information on best practices. Our public health directors at [inaudible 00:08:35] about the coronavirus data and advised us on the best way to keep our citizens safe. And we have come together as a region to provide a unified response, to see our communities through this challenging times.

David Tarter: (08:54)
We thank governor Northam and members of his staff who have joined us on many of these calls. We appreciate your willingness to work with us and recognize our unique circumstances. Based on the latest information from our health directors, the elected leaders of our region have spoken together to request that governor Northam consider the Northern Virginia data separately from the rest of the state. The governor has done so with executive order 62, which was issued yesterday. We thank governor Northam for his willingness to listen and act on our behalf and for recognizing that one size does not fit all when it comes to the complex work of saving lives and livelihood. I’m joined today by some of my colleagues from Northern Virginia who will each speak about the need for a responsible reopening process that will, when the data supports it, protect our communities and allow for a healthy and strong recovery. I’ll pass this along to Jeff McKay, chair of the Fairfax County board of supervisors. Mr. McKay,

Jeff McKay: (09:58)
Thank you very much mayor Tarter and thank you governor for including us today. Most importantly, I want to thank the governor for recognizing that the DC metropolitan area that includes the district Maryland and Virginia is one cohesive region. And frankly folks from all those jurisdictions across jurisdictional boundaries, every single day by the thousands making our region very cohesive, but also making it important for us to consider how we can coordinate with the district in Maryland to make sure that we’re protecting the safety of our entire community. We have thousands of people a day who use public transit and use our Metro system to go in between those jurisdictions. And it’s important that there not be huge variations in the rollout of phases as we move forward so that we don’t unnecessarily confuse our business owners, confuse our residents and confuse our houses of worship as we move forward.

Jeff McKay: (11:02)
As we know this virus does not know jurisdictional boundaries and so we must remain a coordinated metropolitan Washington as we move forward to protect our residents. The whole DMV is united in reopening our economy. We want to do it as quickly and safely as we possibly can. And we thank you for recognizing that our metrics are not there at this point. And that as a region we have to make sure that we coordinate with all of our partners including the mayor of the district of Columbia and the governor of Maryland. Thank you again for that recognition. We look forward to working with you governor as we move forward. And with that I am going to pass this to the Arlington County board chair, Libby Garvey.

Libby Garvey: (11:52)
Thank you so much chair McKay. And thank you governor for having us here. I’m actually I think going to emphasize your remarks and I’m really pleased to be able to do this. Northern Virginia represents-

Chair Garvey: (12:03)
And I’m really pleased to be able to do this. Northern Virginia represents nearly one third of the population of Virginia, but half of the Commonwealth’s cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The most responsible path forward for us is to maintain our current operating status until the phase one criteria laid out by the Governor are met for Northern Virginia. And so over the next two weeks, we will continue to focus on those metrics criteria across our region. And these include a downward trend of positive test results and hospitalizations over a period of 14 days, sufficient hospital beds and intensive care capacity, and increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment such as masks respirators, gloves, and gowns, and increased testing and tracing.

Chair Garvey: (12:55)
Analysis by our region’s Public Health directors shows that all five metrics are either unmet for Northern Virginia, or can not be determined based on currently available data. So we thank the Governor for his leadership and setting the criteria and letting the data, not the date, determine our status, and we will continue to monitor our data as we move forward. And I now will turn it over to Loudon County chair, Phyllis Randal.

Chair Phyllis Randal: (13:27)
Thank you, Chair Garvey, and thank you to the Governor. So in Northern Virginia, we are looking forward to when we can safely move to phase one, as determined by our health directors. We are not expecting different rules, just a timeline that makes sense for the data our health directors are seeing. Because Northern Virginia is so interconnected, we are taking a regional approach rather than moving to phase one locality by locality. The Governor’s new executive order, number 62, extends phase zero into may 29. There is nothing I want more than to be able to interface one at that time. We will all continue to talk with the Governor’s team and our health director to monitor those metrics closely.

Chair Phyllis Randal: (14:16)
Unfortunately for now, phase zero restrictions on gatherings and businesses remains in place for our area. Everyone, please stay home, except for essential trips like purchasing food and obtaining medical care. Gatherings of 10 people or more are still not allowed, including places of worship. Please continue to support locally owned restaurants with carry out and delivery, and businesses like theaters and gyms are not yet open. Lastly, I want to say to my County, Loudon, I realize how much our small businesses are suffering. It is not lost on me, will move to phase one the moment our health directors determined we can do so safely. Thank you so much. And I’m going to pass it to my friend, the chair of Prince William County Ann Wheeler.

Mayor Justine Wilson: (15:13)
Thank you, Chair Randall, and thank you Governor Northam for having us today. The question is how do we get to phase one as expediently as possible? Really it’s going to be by people listening. We all have to do personal responsibility, this means staying at home except for essential trips. It goes without saying, if you’re sick, stay at home. Use strict physical distancing of at least six feet when you’re around people outside your own household. Wear a cloth face covering when in community areas, including when inside businesses. And don’t forget the basics, wash your hands frequently clean and disinfect surfaces, and coughs and sneezes. These practices worked. They’ve been slowing cases, the rate of new cases in Virginia. Residents in every Northern Virginia locality must follow the same rules. If we do not, it will have major implications across our region. Again, we need to continue our efforts. So we see a declining number of cases in the Northern Virginia region over a 14 day period. Entering phase one, we’ll take personal responsibility. Let’s do this together. With that, I will pass it along to Alexandria Mayor, Justin Wilson to finish this up.

Mayor Justine Wilson: (16:28)
Thank you very much a Chair Wheeler, and they could do the Governor. We want to thank all of our residents in the region for taking personal responsibility to help each other make it through this shared crisis. We are especially grateful to our essential workers, our first responders, our healthcare workers, and all of our city County and town municipal staff. These folks are on the front lines every day to help keep us safe and keep our economy moving. We also want to make sure that everyone who is checking on a neighbor, staying in touch with family and friends and just spreading hope and cheer, it’s good to have a buddy you can help, to ask for help, and taking care of our own mental health and the mental health of others is equally an important part of the response to this crisis.

Mayor Justine Wilson: (17:10)
We all, to echo my colleagues, we all want to reopen the economy as quickly as we can, but we need to do that as safely as we can. Public Health and the economy go hand in hand, and the foundation of a strong economy is Public Health. We appreciate throughout this crisis, the Governor’s data driven approach, and we will stay focused on the data as we look forward to reopening. I want to thank Governor Northam, his staff, the administration, all of my colleagues on this call and throughout Northern Virginia, and all of our residents and businesses for their sacrifice during this time. And so with that, I’m going to turn it back over to you Governor. Thank you.

Governor Ralph Northam: (17:47)
Great Justin, and thanks to all of you for your amazing leadership during just a very difficult time, during this pandemic. I think one of the things that you just heard, and I will reiterate it, is that we’re really emphasizing and focus on data rather than dates, and that really is something that we will continue to do moving forward. I also want to take this opportunity, and as I’ve told you, we are in frequent communication with our Governor from Maryland, Governor Hogan, and mayor of Washington D.C. Mayor Bowser, and just collectively this group of leaders up in Northern Virginia and the greater Washington area, it’s just very commendable. So I thank you all, and I respect all that you all are doing.

Governor Ralph Northam: (18:36)
I again appreciate your leadership and your cooperation. We all share the same priorities to ensure that Public Health is our top priority as we move forward. We also continue to work to support our local governments. Earlier this week, we announced we will send $650 million in federal financial aid through the cares act to our local governments, to help them pay for the cost of responding to this pandemic. And I’ll repeat that $650 million. We have additional federal dollars, and one of our priorities for that money will be paying for the increased testing and contact tracing that we will need moving forward.

Governor Ralph Northam: (19:23)
Our Department of Health is working to hire many more contact tracers for each health region. They’ll be working in communities and through our call centers. VDH has worked with several staffing companies to help speed this process and has received more than 3000 resumes. Virginia health commissioner, Dr. Norman Oliver, will speak more about our work to build the contact tracing workforce as well as today’s health data. Before that though, I just want to remind everybody in Virginia, that this is National Skilled Nursing Week. As you know, our longterm nursing facilities, our care facilities, our nursing homes, have had been very vulnerable during this pandemic. And I just want all of you to recognize the work that’s being done by these staff members, and again, to thank them for all their hard work, and together we will get through this pandemic. So Dr. Oliver, I welcome you.

Dr. Norman Oliver: (20:30)
Thank you Governor. Good afternoon. I’ll start with the statistics on where we stand in the pandemic today. We now have a total number of cases of 26,746, that’s an increase of 946 cases in the last reporting period. The total deaths stand at 927, which an increase of 36. Total tests are 180,084, and as the Governor mentioned that includes the 8,845 tests in the last 24 hour period. The number of African American cases that we have is 4,337, which is about 23% of the cases for which we have demographic information on race and ethnicity. The Latinx cases, number 7,711, which is 43% of that same denominator of cases with race and ethnicity. In terms of deaths, African-American deaths are at 201, which is 25% of the deaths, and the Latinx deaths are at 73, which is about 10%.

Dr. Norman Oliver: (21:54)
As the Governor mentioned, as we move into phase one, it will be critical for us to continue to contain the spread of this disease through testing and ramping that up, identifying cases as they present, isolating in those cases from other people, and contacting the folks who have come into contact with that case and possibly have been exposed to the disease. As the Governor mentioned, we are processing currently about 3000 applications. We will be hiring supervisors in regional areas for this new additional workforce of contact tracers who will augment the some 604 contact tracers that we currently have in place.

Dr. Norman Oliver: (22:42)
We plan to step up that workforce to near 1300 people across the Commonwealth. As I mentioned previously, what this represents is about having 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 people in the population. This is a number that we got from the researchers at Harvard University, who published the roadmap to ending the Coronavirus epidemic, in which they said that you needed a minimum of at least that amount, somewhere between 15 to 30 contact traces per 100,000. We will start at that 15 per a hundred thousand and ramp up from there as needed. Thank you.

Governor Ralph Northam: (23:32)
We’d be glad to take your questions.

Speaker 2: (23:35)
Yeah, I’m about contact tracing. I was hoping to clarify what will happen when you identify the contacts of the cases that we’re picking up through testing. When these tracers find a contact of a positive case, will those people then be able to be tested? Will they be required to be isolated? What happens?

Governor Ralph Northam: (23:53)
So the question is how does the contact tracing process move forward. Would you like to?

Dr. Norman Oliver: (23:59)
We will address it.

Governor Ralph Northam: (24:00)
Thank you.

Dr. Norman Oliver: (24:01)
And Dr. Forlano may correct me if I.

Governor Ralph Northam: (24:03)
Thank you.

Speaker 3: (24:03)
And Dr. Forlano may correct me if I miss something. When we identify someone who’s a contact, that’s someone who may have been exposed to the disease, we, first of all, want to find out whether or not they’re feeling well, what their symptoms are and so on. If it appears through that conversation that they’re actually symptomatic and need testing to find out whether or not they have COVID-19, then we would arrange for that testing to occur. And if they are a primary contact with significant exposure to the index case, then we would ask them to self-quarantine and then follow up with them through that 14 day period to ensure that they don’t develop symptoms and need care.

Speaker 4: (24:53)
Do you have definition for primary contact?

Speaker 3: (24:57)
What I mean by primary contact is if I’m a case and you and I have been standing within six feet of each other talking and so on for longer than 10 minutes, you would be a contact who we want to self-quarantine. But if you then spent time with Henry, that secondary person wouldn’t be someone that we would isolate.

Speaker 4: (25:25)
The first question on the phone will be from Alan Suderman of the Associated Press.

Alan Suderman: (25:30)
Hi, good afternoon.

Governor Ralph Northam: (25:32)
Good afternoon, Alan.

Alan Suderman: (25:33)
The White House on Monday recommended that state start testing or make sure they test every nursing home resident and staff in the next two weeks. Is that something that Virginia is able to do? How many nursing home residents is that? Is that a doable target? And then one other question on the phase one is… I just want to clarify, it’s just Northern Virginia that is being delayed? If any other locality between now and Friday asks to delay, is that a possibility? Like the Eastern shore or the city of Richmond?

Governor Ralph Northam: (26:10)
Alan, I’m going to be nice and answer both of your questions today, but I appreciate them. To date, we have only had one locality, one region that has requested through their leadership, as you just saw, to delay entering phase one. If there are other regions in Virginia that have concerns, that have been following their metrics, that feel that they aren’t ready to enter phase one, I haven’t heard from them personally and I would encourage them to go through the same process that the folks in Northern Virginia did. But to date, the only region that we’ve heard from is Northern Virginia. The first question that Mr. Suderman asked was our nursing homes and our goals on testing, not only the residents, but the staff at the nursing homes, and just an estimate, we have about 260 longterm care facilities in Virginia, and we are committed to testing all of those facilities.

Governor Ralph Northam: (27:18)
Alan, a part of your question was will that be done in the next two weeks. That perhaps is a bit of an ambitious goal, but we’re going to test these facilities just as quickly as we can, as you have heard me speak of before we have the National Guard that’s helping us. The nursing homes also have the ability to contract through private testing facilities, such as Quest and LabCorp. And as you know, we have relief funds that have come into Virginia from the CARES Act and we are working with our secretary of finance, Secretary Layne, to make sure that we have the available resources that we can help nursing homes do that testing. So the approach is going to be an all hands on deck for our nursing homes and our goal is to be able to test all of them.

Governor Ralph Northam: (28:14)
And I think another thing that people need to realize is that if we’re able to test all of these in, let’s say the next two or three weeks or however long that takes, there may be reasons that we need to go back and test the facility again. So this is going to be an ongoing process and the more staffing, the more PPE, the more testing capabilities we have, the better able we’ll be able to do that. But you’ve heard me talk about this before, the nursing homes or longterm care facilities are some of our most vulnerable population and we are doing everything that we can to keep the residents of these facilities and also the staff of these facilities healthy.

Speaker 4: (29:02)
We have one more from the floor, one from the phone, Jackie?

Jackie: (29:02)
Yeah. So experts have said a surge of cases is inevitable following even a partial reopening. So does your administration have any specific modeling on how these policy decisions could impact hospitalizations and new cases in the state?

Governor Ralph Northam: (29:16)
The question is, as we ease the restrictions and enter phase one, there is the potential to have increased cases. And Jackie, the answer to your question is, yes, we do. And we’re in a position to enter phase one because we have the hospital capacity, because we have PPE, because we have the testing capabilities. And so all of these parameters will continue to be followed. And we talk about if there are more cases in the next few weeks, we’re ready for that.

Governor Ralph Northam: (29:50)
The other thing quite realistically that we have to think about, what about this fall and winter, assuming there’s no vaccination, there’s no a cure, if you will, for this? We’ve got to be ready for that. And so we’re not only preparing for tomorrow, we’re preparing for months and years down the road. And I think speaking on behalf of not only Virginia, but this country, we were caught flatfooted by this pandemic. We weren’t ready. We didn’t have the testing capability. We didn’t have the PPE. And we’ve learned a significant lesson. I know we have here in Virginia. And so we’ll be ready if there are increased cases this month, if there are increased cases this fall or next year. We’re planning ahead for that.

Jackie: (30:33)
Do you know specific numbers on hospitalizations? Do you know that off the top of your head? Like on what that modeling shows we could have X amount more hospitalizations?

Governor Ralph Northam: (30:42)
Well, I think the question is about our hospitalization capacity and I think you’ve seen, and I could go back and show you the graph again, we have capacity up to a certain amount, and then we have a surge capacity that’s available. But I want to kind of follow up on your question a little bit. You’re asking a lot of questions that we don’t have answers for. And I will remind Virginians that this is a novel virus. We’re learning every day how it affects human beings. We’re learning every day how it affects children. I mean, a month ago, we didn’t see this Kawasaki syndrome, this inflammatory vasculitis process. And so, for me to sit here and say exactly what we’ll need next month or a year from now, it’s pretty difficult to say exact numbers, but I will tell you that we’re preparing for the future and we’ll be ready.

Speaker 4: (31:35)
[inaudible 00:31:36].

Speaker 5: (31:35)
I will remind-

Speaker 4: (31:35)
[crosstalk 00:31:35] The question will be from Roger Watson with the Farmville Herald.

Speaker 5: (31:44)
Every day-

Roger Watson: (31:45)
Thank you, Governor. At state prisons where outbreaks have occurred, have the staffing levels been reduced to protect employees from the virus? And if so, what percentage is the staffing level currently at?

Governor Ralph Northam: (31:57)
If you could repeat your question, I might have Secretary Moran come up here, but there were a couple of words in your question that we couldn’t hear. If you could just repeat your question. Thank you.

Roger Watson: (32:07)
Sure. At state prisons where outbreaks have occurred, have the staffing levels been reduced to protect employees from the virus? And if so, what percentage is the staffing level currently at?

Brian Moran: (32:21)
Thank you, Governor. Having to do with the outbreaks at our state prisons and the staffing levels to accommodate the security of those prisons, we have not experienced a significant staffing shortage. A great commitment on part of our correctional officers. Also we’re taking steps to separate where there is an outbreak in a particular unit. DOC takes extraordinary steps to make sure that that unit is separated from others. Protections for our correctional officers in terms of their DOC masks and other hygiene that is provided. And I do, again, want to thank the effort with respect to testing at our correctional facilities. This week, we did Dillwyn thanks to the guard and Dr. Forlano’s group and VDH and others to make sure that we can do point prevalence testing at our correctional facilities, so we know how many individuals are indeed infected. As we know, you can be asymptomatic. With that knowledge, DOC can take steps to make sure we separate quarantine and take all the appropriate CDC recommended guidelines and actions to ensure the safety and health of those in our custody.

Governor Ralph Northam: (33:42)
Thanks, Brian.

Andre: (33:42)
Thank you, Governor. There are those who applaud you and say thank you for placing health over wealth and they are excited about your decisions to keep Virginians safe. On other hand, some say that you’ve ruined the economy, you’ve hurt people’s livelihoods and their lives. How do you… Talk about the painstaking decisions and work that your administration put forward in dealing with those two dynamics. And then on a sidebar, when it comes to some of these restrictions, with a lot of our law enforcement entities already being understaffed and taxed, is it too much for them to maybe go to restaurants and make sure people are following procedures, go to churches, go to barber shops and beauty salons?

Governor Ralph Northam: (34:31)
Great questions. And the second one… Let me just answer the second one first, if I could. And that’s would we be able to enforce the guidelines that we have in place. And the answer to that is yes, we will. Again, we will ask for the cooperation of Virginians and I think for the most part, we have received that. But if there are some individuals that don’t want to abide by our rules, we will give not only the agencies such as the Department of Health or the ABC or law enforcement, the ability to go in and enforce the guidelines. So again, you’ve heard me talk a lot. I’m a carrot person rather than a stick, but we will have a stick if we need to use it, but we will continue to encourage Virginians that they’re all part of this solution. And moving towards phase two and phase three…

Governor Ralph Northam: (35:26)
The first part of Andre’s question was the decisions that we make regarding the health crisis and the economic crisis. And I think that’s a really fair question. And we realize that we are in the middle of a health crisis. We are also in the middle of an economic crisis. You’ve heard me talk about this in the past. Until we can get the health crisis behind us, the economy will never recover. So my emphasis, our administration’s emphasis, and I think really Virginia’s emphasis has been on the safety and wellbeing of Virginians.

Governor Ralph Northam: (36:03)
Emphasis has been on the safety and wellbeing of Virginians. And so we’ll continue to emphasize that. That will be our focus, but we also realize that the economy plays a part. People have lost their jobs. People are making tremendous sacrifices. And so we will all continue to work together to put this health crisis behind us, to get it under as best control as we can. And that will allow us to move forward with economic recovery.

Governor Ralph Northam: (36:27)
Andre, I know you’ve heard me say this before, but we live in the best state, in the best country in the world and going into COVID-19, we were number one in the country as far as our business environment. Our unemployment rate, if we remember back was 2.6%, it was one of the lowest we’d had in many years. The amount of capital investment in the last two years that had come into Virginia was record breaking at close to 30 billion, with a B, dollars. And so we were strong prior to COVID-19 and if we continue to work together as a Commonwealth, we will come out of this as strong.

Governor Ralph Northam: (37:11)
So, that’s my goal. And that’s what I’m committed to doing as governor. We’ll look forward to seeing you on Friday. And this is just planning for all of you. And I know planning is important, and unless I hear differently, we have Memorial weekend coming up, which starts on the 22nd. Memorial Day being on the 25th. And after that time, because Memorial Day is on a Monday, we will have these press conferences on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So we’ll go from three a week to two a week. You all don’t have to stand up and applaud all at one time. But anyway, that’s the plan as we move forward. But it’s very important to me and hopefully to you that we continue to provide you updated and accurate information. And so if we need to have other press conferences or if we need to release more information to the press on days other than when we’re having our press conferences, we will surely work with you and do that. So we look forward to seeing you all on Friday. Thank you all so much.

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