Northam: Va. planning 44 community testing events next week

Board walks visitors keep their social distance on the oceanfront Friday, May 22, 2020, in Virginia Beach, Va. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam lifted restrictions and opened the beachfront beginning Friday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a Friday news conference that community testing events around the commonwealth saw over 4,000 tests conducted with 44 more community testing events planned for next week.

Between Woodbridge, Manassas and Leesburg, 4,377 tests were conducted at community testing events, Northam said.

The Virginia National Guard has conducted over 10,000 tests, with an estimated 9,000 of those tests taking place this week.

Community testing events in Northern Virginia are planned in Woodbridge, Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington. Across all of Virginia, the community events are estimated to conduct 17,500 tests next week, Northam said.

Residents of Virginia can use a new feature on the Department of Health’s website that allows people to check their symptoms against those of COVID-19 and find a testing site if they feel they may be infected.

Northam also said that his administration has been communicating frequently with Northern Virginia leaders about when the region could enter Phase 1, and said he expected to have an update on that next week.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

SNAP pilot program

Northam announced Friday that a new pilot program had been approved by the Department of Agriculture that would allow people who are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to order groceries online and have them delivered.

“This will help families get access to nutritious food without having to leave their homes,” Northam said. “For families with small children or with members who have underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk this will help keep them even safer.”

Those enrolled in SNAP would be able to order through Amazon or Walmart, and other vendors may be approved soon, Northam said.

Northam thanked Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner for their work on establishing the pilot program.

The program will launch Friday, May 29.

Northam announces ‘Virginia Graduates Together’

While much of Virginia is beginning the process of reopening, large crowds are still banned under Northam’s Phase 1 of reopening, and many graduations have moved online.

Northam announced that Virginia Public Media has put together a virtual graduation called “Virginia Graduates Together” that will air next Friday on public television around the state and online.

Those graduating in the class of 2020 are being asked to submit photos and videos to Virginia Public Media’s website by Sunday to be included in the virtual ceremony.

Northam also said there would be a number of special guests who would be speaking to the graduates.

The ceremony will recognize both high school and college seniors.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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