Governor Northam is encouraging Virginians to follow CDC recommendations to wear cloth face masks when they venture out for essential needs, while also continuing to adhere to the six foot social distancing guideline. The governor says he and his staff will be wearing masks out in public.
Northam, who is physician, says while homemade cloth masks are not medical grade, they can help reduce the spread of the coronavirus through sneezing or talking, and the masks can help keep you from touching your face. Northam also recommends washing masks daily.
Information about making homemade masks can be found on the CDC Website.
Northam says the state has contracted with a Virginia company to buy $27 million worth of personal protective equipment (PPE). That shipment is expected to arrive by the end of the week. State Secretary of Public Safety, Brian Moran, says the state has found a reliable supply chain and this will be the first of many purchases.
Moran also said the state's correctional facilities are working to maintain CDC guidelines for distancing and sanitation, and that the state parole board is working to speed up the release of parole-eligible inmates.
Northam says work to create three alternate care centers in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and Richmond will start this week. The Governor says while model information changes daily, he is still expecting Virginia's case surge to peak about May 20.
State Health Commissioner, Dr. M. Norman Oliver, says his department continues to work with the state's long-term care facilities to isolate positive patients and to get PPE to the healthcare workers.
The health department is trying to do more testing of residents in long-term care facilities in order to find asymptomatic patients who can spread the virus without showing signs of being sick themselves.
More on this story from our media partner, ABC 13 -WSET.