‘We all want to end this pandemic’: Northam bans gatherings of 100+ people as coronavirus cases rise in Virginia

Published: Mar. 15, 2020 at 11:12 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam announced a ban on all gatherings of 100 people or more statewide Sunday amid a rise in coronavirus cases in Virginia.

The governor also confirmed a total of 45 COVID-19 cases in the commonwealth, while also confirming one related death in the peninsula district.

The district - that covers Williamsburg, Newport News, Poquoson, James City County and York County - currently has 8 confirmed cases. Due to the “cluster” of cases, the governor ordered a shutdown of municipal offices there.

Norm Oliver, Virginia Health Commissioner, said they are doing hundreds of “contact investigations” to make sure they know everyone who came into contact with a sick person. He also said, "expect more and more cases to emerge.“

"We are also very concerned about the likelihood of actual community spread of COVID-19, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the peninsula region. And for all those reasons we are going full-court press on trying to identify those cases well ahead of time and isolate them as we do identify them,” Norm Oliver said.

The governor also placed a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more in the peninsula, half of what is being recommended statewide.

Local officials stated the outbreak will get worse before it gets better, but Northam said it is not yet time for quarantine.

“We ask people to use common sense,” said Governor Northam. "What we are trying to achieve here is the kind of social distancing that experts tell us is critical to stop the spread of the virus.

At a press conference Sunday, Northam said the ban on large gatherings does not apply to restaurants, bars and offices.

The Virginia Department of Health continues to update its site with the latest information on coronavirus. The department says it currently has the capability to test 340 to 470 people. Orders for more are expected to arrive this week.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.

Submit a news tip.