As Labor Day approaches, Northam warns ‘virus is still alive and well’

Virginia’s coronavirus case numbers have remained fairly steady since early July. Gov. Ralph Northam hopes Virginians will remain vigilant through Labor Day weekend to avoid the case surge that followed Memorial Day weekend.

“This virus is still alive and well around the commonwealth of Virginia,” Northam said.

The most recent data shows 1,021 new reported cases over a 24-hour period statewide.

“Overall, Virginians are doing a good job of keeping this curve flat,” Northam said during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, but he noted that “the trend line has risen slightly over the past week or so.”

Virginia’s statewide test-positivity rate remains around 7%. Contrast that to the rate of 20% months earlier.


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In Northern Virginia, the testing-positivity rate is around 6%. The region is “trending very slightly higher than earlier in the summer” when it comes to new cases, Northam said: The seven-day average for new cases stays around 240.

The commonwealth’s struggling eastern region is seeing some progress as well. Its testing-positivity rate has come down from a mid-July spike of around 12% to, now, just under 9%.

Though the state is conducting anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 tests daily, Northam said the number should be higher.

Not as many people are showing up for testing, he said, and that lack of testing could mean a spike in infections. Despite recent CDC guidance to the contrary, he said, tests will be offered to anyone who has no symptoms but thinks they’ve been exposed.

“If you believe you need a test, please get a test — especially if your job requires you to be around other people, like teachers,” he said.

Residents can find a map of testing sites on Virginia’s Department of Health website.

“I get it. We’re all tired,” Northam said. “And we all want to get this behind us. But the basic facts remain the same. If you have COVID, you need to isolate yourself and stay away from other people. That starts with getting tested.”

Meantime, Virginia’s COVID-19 exposure notification app, COVIDWISE, is proving popular: 460,000 have downloaded it since its launch four weeks ago.

“This is a great start, but we have to remain vigilant,” Northam said.

Since the pandemic began, Virginia has recorded more than 121,615 COVID-19 cases. More than 2,600 Virginians have died.

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