Gov. Ralph Northam banned gatherings of over 100 people to help guard against the Chinese coronavirus in Richmond, Virginia, on Sunday.
“Earlier today, we announced a ban on special public events over 100 people statewide. It’s just not a good idea for that many people to be close to each other right now,” Northam stated, according to NBC 12.
We ask people to use common sense, that means events that bring together more than a hundred people in a single room or a single confined space at the same time without room to spread out. It means events outside the normal course of daily life. Parades or festivals, gatherings in auditoriums, stadiums, or conferences. It does not mean normal operations at airports, offices, hospitals, restaurants, grocery stores, or other retail establishments. What we are trying to achieve here is the kind of social distancing that experts tell us is critical to stopping the spread of the virus.
“We all want to end this pandemic, and everything we hear from the experts tells us that slowing its spread is critical to keeping more Virginians healthy and ensuring what we do does not overload our healthcare system,” Northam concluded.
Saturday afternoon, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) reported the first death of a Virginian due to the coronavirus.
Commonwealth of Virginia Reports First COVID-19 Death
in the Peninsula Health District: https://t.co/EAKczcYutj. Virginia has 41 cases of COVID-19.
— Va Dept of Health (@VDHgov) March 14, 2020
“The patient was a male in his 70s who acquired COVID-19 through an unknown source. The cause of death was respiratory failure as a result of COVID-19,” the department’s press release read.
Following the announcement, Northam expressed his sadness upon learning of the victim’s death and assured residents that their health was his top priority.
Pam and I were deeply saddened to learn that a Virginian has died from #COVID19. The health of Virginians continues to be my absolute top priority. I will meet with local Peninsula officials tomorrow, and we will speak to the community about next steps.https://t.co/Q7GNEVDEeO
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) March 14, 2020
Thursday, the governor declared a state of emergency and said state officials would continue to address the ongoing situation.
“From our health department, to our schools, to our hospitals, to our transit systems, Virginia’s agencies and institutions have been thoroughly planning for every scenario,” Northam stated, adding, “This emergency declaration will ensure we can continue to prepare for and appropriately respond to Virginians’ needs during this time.”
Sunday, the governor urged people to reconsider attending events or going to places where more than 100 people would be present.
“If you’re going to a crowded bar, or a large church full of people, I would urge you to rethink those plans. Ask yourself if it’s really that important that you go out right now. Social distancing now can save lives later,” he concluded.