Northam | Coronavirus

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and State Health Commissioner Norman Oliver issued a public health emergency order to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, on March 17.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced a “stay at home” order Monday to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, directing Virginians to remain at home except for food, supplies, work, medical care or to get fresh air or exercise.

The executive order, which will be in effect until June 10 unless updated or rescinded, calls for all Virginia institutions of higher education to stop in-person classes and instruction. Private campgrounds must close for short-term stays, and beaches will be closed statewide except for fishing and exercise.

“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Northam said in a prepared statement. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home. We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing. I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”

Earlier in the day, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) issued a “stay at home” order directing Maryland residents not to leave their homes unless it’s for an “essential” purpose, such as getting food or medicine or reporting for work.

Northam declared a state emergency March 12, opening up access to federal relief funds and allowing state worker flexibility during the crisis. More than 1,000 cases have been reported across the state, including 25 deaths, as of midday Monday.

Loudoun County has confirmed 61 cases and two deaths.

Northam earlier this month ordered all "non-essential businesses" to close their doors, prohibited public gatherings of more than 10 people and directed all K-12 schools to remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

Violation of the new order will be met with a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to Virginia Code 44-146.17.

Loudoun County officials were quick to react to the news, answering one question they anticipated from constituents: What, in effect, will the new order change?

"Lots of questions and confusion about the 'stay at home' order that media is reporting," Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) wrote on his Facebook page. "The only real change from the previous [executive order] on this topic, 53, is that beaches and public campgrounds are now closed. Everything else is pretty much the same and will be the same as far as the county's enforcement. Bottom line: If you don't need to go out, don't go out. Try to limit your trips for grocery shopping or essential supplies for when you really need them."

Similarly, Loudoun County Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large), wrote, "Let me answer the question before you ask. No, I honestly don't know if this order provides a substantial difference from what is in place now, however, I'm working right now to get clarity and will report back."

More information about the coronavirus and how to prevent its spread can be found at CDC.gov/Coronavirus and Loudoun.gov/coronavirus.

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This is a Times-Mirror news alert. Check back to LoudounTimes.com for updates.

(39) comments

ace10

Request to LTM: Could you create a concise table of the current "rules" which have been handed down in the Commonwealth? Broken down by whether an activity has been prohibited or merely requested to not occur. Presented in a tabular or outline format. Again, very concise and accurate. And maybe pin it to the top of the home page? I'm not joking when I say that the roll out of these orders has been a absolute goat rodeo. And a referenceable data set would be most welcome AND helpful. Also, maybe keep a change log so that when there are new press conferences, we can better understand what is being altered from one point in time to another.

amerigirl

It is everywhere, all you need to do is type 'Northams stay at home executive order' into a browser to look at it, seal and all. You an also go to the county web site to get concise info at loudoun(dot)gov/5307/Coronavirus this breaks down everything for Loudoun Co.

ace10

It's not "EVERYWHERE." And the County page is simply a massive collection of links. Do you know what the word CONCISE means? Your comment suggests that you don't. Good grief, it never ends with you.

Shadraqqk

In Loudoun County there is 1 critical care bed per 10,000 people over age 15. There are an estimated 315K people in Loudoun over 15. That's 30 critical care beds. Let's assume that's way, waaay off by a factor of 5 and assume there are 150 critical care beds in Loudoun (there aren't). 5% of all cases are critical.(3) There are now 61 cases in Loudoun. That's 3 in critical care beds right now. The number of infected & dead double every 3 days. In 3 days, there will be 6 in critical care. In 6 days, 12. In 9 days, 24...In 18 days there will be 192. That's 3 weeks (in our most wildly optimistic estimate) before our hospital runs out of critical care beds. We have 2 dead now. In 18 days we'll have 128 dead. That means people will be dying in the hospital halls. Italy launched a country-wide quarantine on March 9. The death rate didn't slow until March 27. That's 18 days with a country-wide quarantine, which we're not doing yet. We are already past the point of averting disaster. Now it's just about controlling damage. This is the outcome of weighing your right to travel against others' right to life.

Shadraqqk

Here are the facts missing from the story:

- In Loudoun County there is 1 critical care bed per 10,000 people over age 15.(1)

- There are an estimated 315K people in Loudoun over 15.(2) That's 30 critical care beds. Let's assume that's way, waaay off by a factor of 5 and assume there are 150 critical care beds in Loudoun (there aren't).

- 5% of all cases are critical.(3) There are now 61 cases in Loudoun.(4) That's 3 in critical care beds right now.

- The number of infected & dead double every 3 days.(5) In 3 days, there will be 6 in critical care. In 6 days, 12. In 9 days, 24...In 18 days there will be 192. That's 3 weeks (in our most wildly optimistic estimate) before our hospital runs out of critical care beds.

- We have 2 dead now. In 18 days we'll have 128 dead. That means people will be dying in the hospital halls.

- Italy launched a country-wide quarantine on March 9. The death rate didn't slow until March 27.(6) That's 18 days with a country-wide quarantine, which we're not doing yet.

We are already past the point of averting disaster. Now it's just about controlling damage.

This is the outcome of weighing your right to travel against others' right to life.

Sources:

(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/23/map-places-america-with-most-fewest-icu-beds/

(2) https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=CF

(3) https://www.uptodate.com/contents/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19?source=history_widget

(4) http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/

(5) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

Pac1010

What is next total lock down with the National Guard on every street corner to enforce this? We are rapidly becoming a military state like some of these middle eastern countries we see on the news with soldiers on every corner armed with assault rifles (which they will be taking from legal gun owners) and no freedom. Sad that this governor appears to be taking his marching orders from the press rather than the working people of VA who want to get back on the job before June.

Oldbroad

Is your job worth dying for! Het a grip!

amerigirl

He's probably the one that would get a mild case and spread it to everyone else he contacts.

ace10

Well that certainly is a sweet sentiment.

amerigirl

Really? It is a state of emergency, what do you expect? Why would soldiers need your guns? No governor is taking orders from anyone they are doing what is best to protect the citizens of their states. You don't have a clue how scary it is to be one of the essential workers and fear that someone is going to give you this virus. I don't understand you republicans, first you say they aren't doing enough and then they are overdoing it. Nothing makes you guys happy. There is a chance you might get back to work by June but they need to get this under control first and they can't do it with people out spreading it because they think they are invincible and want to work. That will only make it longer.

Jimvalentin

The problem isn't here, I had to shop today, on the way in, I saw no less than 50 cars with New York tags. They should be picked up and charged with a felony....attempted murder if they test positive.

Oldbroad

They work here just don't pay our exorbitant taxes!

John M

Oldbroad: Clearly you don't know anything about the taxes in the state of NY.

amerigirl

Where was that?

DBC

136 people statewide hospitalized. I realize it may get worse, but that doesn’t (at the moment) seem like a capacity issue. Large majority of counties have 5 or fewer cases and 25% of counties have zero cases.

amerigirl

Pretty sure they follow the trend curve that everyone else is using. We are just starting up that scale. Hopefully if this works we will have less cases than other states who are climbing rapidly.

Fiscalconservative

I watched the press conference and the Governor did not answer the questions that were asked. Furthermore the questions wee not that difficult. He should have someone else handle the next press conference.

amerigirl

Seriously, that is your takeaway from the press conference?

Duncan Idaho

Thanks, Gov. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going out for a run to get some exercise.

Baruch

It took until now for him to issue this order? Why are so many politicians dragging their feet?

amerigirl

The order before was no non-essential businesses open, no large groups, etc. people just didn't listen so now it is a temp. law that can be enforced.

Oldbroad

How essential is Home Depot! Come on! If your toilet is running, turn off the water!

amerigirl

Oldbroad, mostly because of things that might happen to your home like a water leak, electrical problems etc. but it is definitely abused by people wanting to garden, paint and do other everyday tasks while in lock down.

ace10

If one compares and contrasts Gov Hogan's message today with Gov Coonman's, it's impossible to not feel like the Commonwealth has the village idiot residing in the Executive Mansion. Good grief. What an absolute incoherent mess. I'm more confused now than I was prior. While Maryland's directive's were precise and unambiguous.

amerigirl

So he is not a good public speaker, that has no impact on the situation or how he deals with the coronavirus. The directives were fine you are just bias, which is pretty obvious by the racial name you used for him.

ace10

He was a miserable mess. The directives were NOT CLEAR. "Coonman" is his nickname. Or are you going to deny that now? He's a racist, but that has nothing to do with my comment. Nice try, though. You're always eager and willing to defend the indefensible.

John M

If you drive by any Wal Mart or Wegman's, all you see are over a thousand cars in their parking lots. I do not believe that all of those people are shopping for groceries/necessities, they are just bored and want to get out of the house. I think only grocery stores should remain open and any place that sells more than groceries should close off those sections of their stores.

LetSanityPrevail

I was at Wegmans this morning and it wasn't crowded at all. People stayed their distances and obeyed the checkout rules. Given so many people are not going to work we shouldn't see large numbers like normally seen since shopping can be spread out over the week and any time during the day. No reason for everyone to jam the grocery stores on Saturday anymore.

John M

LetSanityPrevail: I passed by Wegman's on my way home from work around 5:15 pm- the parking lot was packed.

More Cowbell

They had over 200 employees working, and another 500 or so in the store. They seem to have a better job of keeping their shelves packed vs Giant or Harris Teeter. I waste my time going to either of them because so little to choose from. It doesn't look any better than last week when I stopped by. Unsure if they stock the shelves in the morning and everything taken by the time I stop by? Or they just can't get food/supplies?

amerigirl

You got lucky. Most of the store have shortened their hours so there is less time for people to shop, .

More Cowbell

In other words, nothing really changed. Will still see 100s and 100s at stores. Gov Northam doesn't really know what is and isn't considered essential. Or that any store with over 50 customers should be fined. Otherwise, the numbers will increase.

AreYouKidding

What has changed but isn't reported in this story is that violating the order is now a class 1 misdemeanor.

More Cowbell

Yeah, like that will hold. Again, allowing 500+ into any store at any given time is 1000 times worse, yet he is AWOL on that issue. And still vape stores open, liquor stores open, clothing stores open, many non essential stores operating the same. You can go to the park but can't drive... How funny. Shut down some businesses but then allow that service to be done in home, yep that makes sense(loss of tax revenue and unsanitary), He tells people to go outside to get exercise but closes the beach(not like people on top of one another at the beach, much worse in grocery stores), he shuts down gyms instead of allowing them to be open and only allow 10 people using appointment system. Heck I'd go at 4AM, only 5 people there, plenty of space between everyone since 2 floors and everyone wiping down after they use equipment. Northam is a joke. Like I said, nothing has changed except he's moved the date to June 10, wherever he pulled that one.....Very weak. It would have been better to close everything down for 2 weeks, give everyone a few days heads up. makes too much sense. And Looks like he and the wife have no problem getting hair cuts, color and nails done for her. So, they're not really practicing social distancing.

amerigirl

Cowbell. Now it is a violation that is punishable by a $5,000 and 90 days in jail. He stated the rules for that plain and simple and was not AWOL. What clothing stores are open? Every non-essential store should be shut now. If it is anything like N.Carolina it will be enforced. They had cops walking through a home depot checking ID’s and asking what they were there to purchase. Why do you say you can’t drive? That isn’t a restriction. What service are you talking about being shut down but allowing to be done in home? You can go outside and still social distance. The problem is beaches where they can’t control the amount of people there, example spring break. Owners of businesses can control how many people are in their places at one time but the owners of public parks and beaches is the govt. Gyms are like Petri dishes and are not essential. If you think nothing has changed then try violating the order. You really think that hair and nails are a thing? Most people do their own nails and who doesn’t own scissors? Do you know how long the incubation period for the coronavirus is? Most medical professionals think it is between 11-14 days. Would closing for just 2 weeks work? In that 2-week period someone could just be starting to get the virus. Then how would closing for 2 weeks make sense if people are spreading it at the end of that time period?

rr

ANy store? how about grocery stores..

amerigirl

They are still open. Anything essential is. But don't be surprised to see police walking the areas.

amerigirl

Close, now violators will be subject to a class one misdemeanor which he said will be enforced. It also also stops in-person classes and instruction at Virginia universities including Liberty University.

DBC

Numbers will increase for sure, but just 136 hospitalized across the whole state. Seems like that means a lot of capacity to handle more cases.

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