VDH: COVID-19 activity in Virginia now at highest level

Updated: Nov. 16, 2020 at 2:53 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Virginia Department of Health says every region in the state is seeing substantial or close to substantial COVID-19 activity. That’s the state’s highest level.

New coronavirus safety restrictions are in place starting Monday. VDH hopes the change will help stop the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

“I’m hopeful that putting limitations on gatherings and the other restrictions that were put into place will really help bring that curve down,” said Dr. Laurie Forlano, VDH Deputy Commissioner for Population Health.

On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam announced additional COVID-19 statewide restrictions. Those include an alcohol sale cutoff at 10 p.m. at restaurants, and they must close by midnight. There’s also a 25 person cap on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

“When we start to see this level of transmission and it’s so geographically widespread, it starts to become increasingly difficult to determine, kind of discrete, specific setting that may be causing more problems than others,” said Dr. Forlano.

Dr. Forlano says the restrictions are warranted, adding they are targeted based on what contact tracers are learning. The hope is to get increasing numbers under control with this move before potential additional restrictions are needed.

“I think everyone including myself is very tired from the pandemic. It’s easy to forget what seems like basic things like wearing your mask and keeping your distance from someone else,” said Dr. Forlano.

Dr. Forlano says gathering in those restaurants and other places, without wearing masks, is really a risk we can’t afford right now.

With that in mind, she’s also offering up some advice this holiday season.

“One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones this year is thinking really hard about whether or not you need to gather together,” said Dr. Forlano.

Vice President Mike Pence led a governors' video teleconference on COVID-19 response and recovery Monday afternoon. Northam’s office tells NBC12 that the governor’s chief of staff was on that call.

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