Virginia could see COVID-19 peak in next few weeks; New models show another wave could hit this summer

Updated: Apr. 13, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia could see its peak of coronavirus cases in the next few weeks. But that doesn’t mean we are out of the wood.

On Monday, Governor Ralph Northam said Virginia’s peak will happen at the end of this month or in early May, and officials are now using a new model from the University of Virginia to help shape the plan to get back to normal.

“We are slowing the spread of this virus,” said Northam.

Northam and his COVID-19 response team said a new University of Virginia (UVa) model indicates social distancing measures are working.

“Since this epidemic began I have said we are basing our decisions on science and on data,” said Northam.

Northam says hospitals will have sufficient capacity to deal with severe cases based on projections. So field hospital construction is now on hold including at The Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Now, Northam’s administration needs to figure out how and when to repeal the state’s stay at home order. The models suggest another wave of illness in mid-July or August if we don’t slowly ease back into normal life.

"If we stop what we are doing too soon that it is clear that we will have a second peak and it could be worse than what we’re dealing with right now,” said Northam.

A task force working on virus spread and outbreaks at Long term care facilities is already making a difference. The state’s deputy health commissioner said they were alerted to an issue at a facility this weekend. They were able to get test kits from UVa, personal protective equipment and staff.

“There are a lot of really good things that happened over the weekend to help with a really acute situation,” said Dr. Laurie Forlano, Deputy Virginia Health

Coronavirus response efforts are also taking a toll on the state budget. The governor is recommending it be slashed by about $874 million from the upcoming budget year and then another $1.4 billion the next year.

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