VA Faces Another Week


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Reopening VA Was Initially Scheduled for May 8, But Has Been Moved to May 15

Governor Ralph Northam had announced previously on April 23 that Virginia could start “Phase 1” for reopening the state on May 8. Phase 1 would mean there will be policies to keep customers and workers separate, conferences and trade shows would be limited, and as short as possible, there will be short breaks for workers to wash hands, separate guidelines for specific businesses will be published, and there will be lower capacities in gyms, restaurants and shops. There are three phases in total, and it will take about three weeks to complete “as long as our health data continues to support it” Northam said.

Phase 2 would start by easing restrictions further if the state sees a continued downward trend of positive tests and hospitalizations, a stable supply of PPE, and continued strong testing and contact tracing. The third and final phase for reopening the state of VA would begin when there is no more evidence for a rebound of cases for a substantial amount of time. 

According to WTOP news, the governor said at a briefing that he believes the state has flattened the curve of the Coronavirus outbreak and is emphasizing to residents “safer at home, rather than stay at home.” Beginning to reopen businesses on May 15 could potentially mean that workers will have to begin to wear masks at work. 

Hospitals are slowly making many improvements that are crucial for these state-wide adjustments. Chief deputy commissioner for the Virginia Department of Health, Parhan Jaberi, stated that “Our hospitals have been reporting less and less difficulty in [supplies of] PPE for patient care,” saying that, “We have continued to trend downward since the beginning of April.” 

Access to testing has increased, which means even if the numbers of cases rose, doctors are able to test and treat patients who only have a few of the symptoms of the virus rather than at the beginning of the pandemic where only people with severe symptoms were getting tested.