HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Governor Northam held a press conference Thursday to provide an update of the state's COVID-19 response.
During the briefing, Northam stressed the importance of the vaccine. The governor announced that all state employees are now required to be vaccinated.
Northam says if an employee chooses not to get vaccinated, they must provide a negative COVID-19 test every week. Vaccination proof must be provided by September 1.
About 122,000 people work for the Commonwealth. Northam hopes private companies and localities will follow his direction and require vaccines.
During the briefing, Northam says Virginia has an average of 13 people a day are getting the COVID shot. Nearly 73 percent of Virginia adults have had their first shot, and 54 percent of all Virginians are fully vaccinated against the virus, which is higher than most states.
“The only way to end this pandemic is to for everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” said Governor Northam. “As head of state government, we have a responsibility to lead by example and ensure the safety of our employees and the people they serve. The three vaccines are safe, effective, free, and widely available, and I strongly urge every eligible Virginian to get their shot. The time for waiting is over.”
According to the VDH, case numbers are up by 1,760, and deaths are up by 5 since Wednesday.
During the briefing, Northam also touched on wearing masks in schools. He referenced that Virginia passed a law in March that students will be in schools 5 days a week and will follow CDC guidelines. If schools do not follow CDC guidelines, Northam suggested legal counsel.
Virginians who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-829-4682, TTY users call 7-1-1) to find a nearby vaccination clinic.