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What’s next for Virginia’s war on COVID-19?



3Virginia – On Monday, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced new restrictions to curb rising numbers of COVID-19 cases due to a surge in infections.

And Governor Larry Hogan said Maryland will be conducting high visibility COVID compliance patrols heading into the Holiday, especially on Thanksgiving Eve.

So, 7 On Your Side asked Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s if more restrictions could be coming for Virginia.

According to a chart by the New York Times– Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC are on the lower end of the list of states with rising COVID-19 cases.

Washington, DC and Virginia are doing slightly better than Maryland when it comes to new cases per 100,000 people.

A spokesperson for Governor Northam told ABC7, “Virginia continues to base restrictions on public health expertise and the reality of COVID-19 on the ground in our Commonwealth. As you know, we have been a national leader in many areas of our response, including becoming the first state in the nation to enact enforceable workplace safety standards (which continue to require strict safety standards in all workplaces) and becoming the first state in the nation to deploy an exposure notification app (COVIDWISE). While Virginia’s per capita case counts remain low compared to our neighboring states, it is clear that public health metrics are trending in the wrong direction across our Commonwealth. That’s why Governor Northam has taken — and will continue to take — proactive, decisive action to keep Virginians safe.

Governor Northam continues to remind Virginians to follow the health safety guidelines, such as wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.

“These vaccines will take time to distribute. Until then, we all need to keep taking precautions,” the Governor said during his last press conference on November 18th.

On November 16th, Governor Northam reinstated several regulations, such as a midnight curfew for bars and restaurants, a ban on the sale of alcohol past 10pm, limiting gatherings to 25 people, and lowering the indoor face-covering requirement age to 5-years old.

Virginia has taken a regional and local approach to containing the spread.

The Governor has left school decisions up to local school boards.

And earlier this year, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (a group of local leaders) kept restrictions in place longer than the rest of the Commonwealth because it took the more populated region longer to bring down the number of novel coronavirus cases.

“Northern Virginia is starting to spike. Our numbers have really taken off in the past 10-days or so,” said Falls Church Mayor David Tarter, who is also Chair of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.

Today, Northern Virginia reported 918 new COVID-19 cases– the third worst day since the pandemic began.

7 On Your Side asked Mayor Tarter if we could see Northern Virginia leaders ask for more restrictions if cases don’t go back down.

“Might we as a region go and request again that the Governor consider additional measures? That is very possible. We as a group are in constant contact with the Governor’s office and we are going to be monitoring this extremely closely going forward,” responded Mayor Tarter.

But the Mayor also said, right now, the plan is to stick with the rest of Virginia and the Regional Commission has not asked for any special recommendations for Northern Virginia because the numbers here, until recently, had been better than other parts of the Commonwealth.

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