Virginia Gov. Northam says testing is ramping up

Posted at 12:56 PM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 20:28:05-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Gov. Ralph Northam and his health team say the Commonwealth is ramping up testing with more than 5,000 tests completed Wednesday and Thursday.

Virginia has faced criticism for its testing, with analysis ranking it towards the bottom of states. Health officials now say they previously reported the number of people tested, but are changing to report the number of tests completed. This will show people who have been tested more than once.

Health officials are also now encouraging people who believe they may have COVID-19 to get tested.

Friday's update shows more than 105,000 tests have been completed to date, with nearly 17,000 positive cases. The number of people hospitalized has decreased for two straight days, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

Social distancing is working, the health officials say. "It has worked. These actions have flattened that curve as we have often talked about," said Northam.

Related: Virginia Beach teen helps create COVID-19 testing site locator

Going forward, Northam says the state will be receiving units to clean PPE and is partnering with labs to increase testing capacity. "Our case counts continue to climb, but so does our testing," he said. "We have slowed the spread, but we are not out of the woods yet."

Northam plans to release more information about Phase One of his reopening plan on Monday. On May 8, his executive order closing non-essential businesses expires. So far, it remains unclear if the order will be lifted. "When I decide to go into Phase One, I can ensure Virginians we're going to do it in a safe manner."

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