RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As other states start to ease restrictions many have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases. However, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said the Commonwealth is not experiencing a surge of coronavirus cases.
Northam said Virginia’s data is good but everyone must enter Phase 3 with caution.
“It’s vital that everyone continues to be cautious,” Northam said. “This virus has not changed. It has not gone anywhere.”
Data provided by the Virginia Department of Health shows that the percent positivity rate continues to trend downward. Latest number six percent.
Last week, Northam said the whole state — including Richmond and NOVA who delayed their reopening because of COVID-19 cases — will be moving to the third phase of “Forward Virginia.”
Under Phase 3, Virginians will be able to increase the cap on social gatherings to 250 people. Retailers, restaurants and bars will be able to lift capacity limits entirely. Plus, more people will be allowed in entertainment venues and gyms.
Northam said it is up to Virginians to be smart and be safe. The governor is encouraging people to not hold large gatherings if they are unable to comply with social distancing guidelines.
If the data starts to trend unfavorably then the state will reconsider moving back to phase two or one.
Northam said during Phase 3, the state will continue testing and tracing in order to keep the virus in check. Right now, there are 1,150 contact tracers in the Commonwealth.
Health officials said they will also start sentinel surveillance beginning in July. This is mirrored after the influenza model. Officials believe this will help them measure the spread of COVID-19 as the state eases restrictions.
Guidelines for beyond Phase 3 are still in the works.
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