National Guard assists with testing in Virginia

Posted at 3:07 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:00:28-04

NORFOLK, Va. - National Guard members are stepping in to help with testing for COVID-19, including this weekend on the Eastern Shore.

About 570 National Guard members are ready or already working throughout the state. "The Guard provides the manpower and the logistical expertise," said Gov. Ralph Northam during his Wednesday coronavirus newsconference.

During a media phone briefing, health officials told reporters Virginia is in a much better place with testing with about 6500 people being tested a day.

Northam has said testing is key to reopening the economy. He's hopeful Phase One of reopening can begin on May 15. He says health trends appear to be going in the right direction. "We will continue to closely monitor the data to make that decision," he said.

On Friday, he'll release more information on guidelines businesses will have to follow to reopen. "We continue to work with businesses and workers to ensure that there is confidence in the next steps when we take them," he said.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the US Senate is back at work. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner is closely following the situation in the state. "We're going to need exponentially more testing if we're going to be able to fully reopen," he said.

Congress is beginning to work out details for an additional stimulus package. Warner is proposing the government take on some company payrolls to help boost employment numbers. "If you look at the European approach and our Canadian neighbors, they've seen only a slight uptick in unemployment not the 30 million uptick we've seen in our nation," he said.