Gov. Ralph Northam said the state has reached its goal of testing 10,000 people for COVID-19 in one day at a press conference Wednesday.
Northam explained that on Tuesday the state administered 9,780 nasal swab tests that detect if a patient has an active case of the coronavirus and 426 antibody tests which are done through drawing a patient’s blood.
“Our testing numbers yesterday were good, and our percent positivity continues to trend downward,” Northam said.
He went on to explain that there are different ways for Virginians to get tested.
“One is to go to your provider or your local clinic, another is to attend one of the community testing events that the Department of Health is organizing in targeted locations around the commonwealth,” Northam said. “While people who have symptoms are a priority everyone is welcome to get tested as long as there are tests available.”
Contact tracing is another tool health officials want to use in their arsenal to combat the virus. Northam explained that Virginia has committed $58 million in federal funding from the CARES Act to ramp up contact tracing.
The state Department of Health is working to hire 200 new communicable disease investigators and 1,000 contact tracers. Contact tracing helps health officials recognize where the virus is spreading and if there are any virus outbreaks in a given area. Officials say this will make restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus more accurate. It can also help officials know where medical supplies should be sent based on community need.
Northam also gave updates about the state’s supply of personal protective equipment for medical workers. He said state officials have successfully increased the equipment supply to a sufficient level.
“Our Virginia Emergency Support Team has been responsible for acquiring, tracking and distributing personal protective equipment to users across the commonwealth,” he said. “So far, we have distributed 793,675 N-95 masks, more than 1.3 million surgical masks and more than 3 million gloves.”
Northam also noted that Virginia has worked with companies like Amazon to ensure essential workers and organizations on the frontlines have access to the equipment they need to stay healthy.
Northam also announced that Virginia’s Health Equity Work Group will hold a town hall meeting in Richmond on May 21 that will be broadcast on local ABC stations, more information and where to watch can be found here.