With virus cases rising, Northam halts elective surgeries

The Peninsula has the highest number of positive coronavirus (COVID 19) cases per capita statewide.

Gov. Ralph Northam said Tuesday he will sign an executive order banning all elective surgeries in Virginia and urged medical professionals to join the Medical Reserve Corps.

Later Tuesday Northam and state Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver directed all hospitals to stop performing elective surgeries or procedures to help conserve supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE). The public health emergency order does not apply to any procedure if the delay would cause harm to a patient. The order also does not apply to outpatient visits in hospital-based clinics, family planning services, or emergency needs.

Virginia now has 391 positive cases. 

There are currently no cases in Hampton.

So far, 12 people have died in Virginia — 7 in the Peninsula Health District, 2 in Henrico County Health District, 1 in Pittsylvania-Danville Health District, 1 in Fairfax Health District and 1 in the Virginia Beach Health District

The Peninsula Health District covers Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, James City County and York County.

On Tuesday, there were 290 cases in Virginia with 37 in James City County, 6 in York County, 5 in Williamsburg and 3 in Newport News.

Testing criteria

  • 101 cases reported Tuesday.
  • More of the cases reported are from private labs than the state labs.
  • Private labs: 4-6 days turnaround time.
  • State lab: 8-12 hours and 24-hour range.
  • More cases long-term care facilities and medical setting.
  • Long-term care facilities: Education such as webinars and literature given. If positive cases are reported, state is working with providers on procedure to reduce spread.
  • Has Virginia peaked? Unclear, data is unavailable.

Medical equipment

  • Executive order: Elective procedures are postponed.
  • Capacity means health care system staff, equipment and bed space.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: Private vendors prices have “jumped”, wants federal government and businesses to help.
  • Army Corp of Engineers: can build hospital sites, have not chosen sites yet but is surveying possible locations.
  • Reworking license requirements and using medical students.
  • Northam may use Medical Reserve Corps made up of 8,000+ volunteers. Requirements: 18+ years old, current or previously licensed, open to students. Apply here.

Other updates

  • State Parks: Day use only. Campgrounds, bath houses, cabins, close Friday morning.
  • Congress passed family first coronavirus act to increase SNAP benefits, take effect Wednesday night.
  • Tolls: All 16 tolls in Virginia accept E-ZPass, process of transitioning all public and private tolls to just E-ZPass. Working on phone toll app.
  • Childcare guidelines: updated on daily, weekly basis.
  • Traveling from New York? Northam asks people to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Executive order: Northam does not have the authority to get rid of rent and force Liberty University to close. He asked president to reconsider allowing student back on campus.
  • Stimulus package: Virginia gets $150 billion in state and local government aid. Still sorting out the details. Housing, including rent, student loans and other topics still being discussed. So far:
    • Direct payments: $1,200 for individuals, $2,500 for married (based on income).
    • Unemployment benefits: $600 per week.
    • Hospital aid: $130 billion nationwide for aid to hospitals: protect hospital.
    • Small business: $350 million nationwide.
    • Large business: $500 billion nationwide.

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