Gov. Update: Virginia Preparing for Increase in Coronavirus Cases

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Governor Northam says coronavirus/COVID-19 cases in Virginia will continue to increase and that preparations must be made to increase hospital bed capacity and medical staff.

Northam says the Army Corps of Engineers is actively scouting sites around Virginia that can be used to build temporary hospitals if needed.

More than 8,000 volunteers with Virginia's Medical Reserve Corps are standing by to help in the state and those who wish to volunteer can go to http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/mrc/ for more information.

The Governor has ordered state parks to convert to day use only starting Friday, Mar. 27.

Additional SNAP benefits to families will be provided for the next two months starting tonight.

State Finance Secretary, Aubrey Layne, says the Federal Stimulus package agreed to today will send direct payments to individuals, increase unemployment benefits in Virginia, increase aid to hospitals, and provide loans and aid to small businesses.

Governor Northam asked Liberty University to reconsider its decision to encourage students to come back to campus in Lynchburg.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Lilian Peake, says the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Virginia is in part because of increased testing, but she says it's also because there is community spread of the virus in Virginia. She says she has no data to estimate when the number of cases in the state might peak.

The Virginia Dept of Health is working with high risk facilities such as nursing homes on how to contain the spread, while also giving guidance to child care facilities so they can stay open to care for the children of essential workers.

Also, people coming into Virginia from high-risk areas such as New York are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Governor's coronavirus updates will continue Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2:00 pm on the Governor's Facebook Page.

More on this story from our media partner, ABC 13 -WSET.

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