In a conference call with reporters earlier today, Governor Ralph Northam announced a ban on gatherings with more than 100 people in Virginia. The announcement comes as 45 people have tested positive for COVID-19, but many people likely have the virus but simply haven’t had their cases confirmed due to a lack of available testing.
The peninsula region of the Commonwealth has been hit especially hard and a ban on gatherings with more than 50 people has been implemented in that region. This development came the day after Virginia’s first coronavirus related death was announced by the Department of Health and it appears as though it was a resident of this region who passed away.
According to Rep. Rob Wittman, it was one of his constituents from the James City and reports suggest it was a man in his 70’s who acquired the virus from an unknown source. There is now an effort to track down the 284 people he is believed to have had contact with since getting the virus in order to ensure they are tested and take needed precautions.
Although a complete quarantine hasn’t been mandated, the governor did urge Virginians to practice social distancing as much as possible. He suggested the public avoid church services, social activities, going out to bars and restaurants, and any other activities that involve relatively large amounts of people gathering.
Health officials from the Peninsula Health District have announced public buildings in the region have also been closed through the end of the month, but police and fire services will continue during that time.
Localities outside the peninsula are also taking extra precautions. In a text message sent out to the community today, for instance, Fairfax County announced “senior centers and adult day health care centers are closed effective immediately.” Moving forward, it’s likely we’ll see even more steps taken designed to help protect residents who are most at risk for contracting the virus.