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Coronavirus: Northam urges residents to wear mask in public

Gov. Ralph Northam Monday afternoon encouraged Virginians to continue following the safety guidelines for COVID-19 urged by health officials, including hand-washing and social distancing, and to wear face masks when out in the public. "Continue to do what you're doing... stay at home is working," Northam said.

The Virginia Health Department reported Monday that there were 2,878 cases of COVID-19, 497 people hospitalized, and 54 deaths in the state so far.

The governor noted that contracts should soon be finalized that will allow the state to begin work on making the Hampton Roads Convention Center an alternative care site for COVID-19 patients in late spring, when a surge in cases is expected. He also said:
  • Sentara Healthcare has an in-house testing for the coronavirus that will dramatically cut down on the wait for test results.
  • The state has signed a $27 million order for more personal protection equipment, such as face masks. And, he said Virginia is shipping thousands of military meals-ready-to-eat to state food banks to help feed those in need.
Northam ended his regular news briefing by saying "please use the mask," and encouraged people to visit websites where they can learn how to make cloth face masks themselves.

To lower the risk of spreading the virus, the Health Department recommends:
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
The AARP has recommendations online on how to go grocery shopping during the pandemic, and you can get more information about the coronavirus from:
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