Virginia Declares State of Emergency After 17 People Test Positive for Coronavirus

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency Thursday after 17 residents tested positive for coronavirus.

“Our top priority is to make sure Virginians stay safe and healthy, and that our response to this situation leaves no one behind,” the governor said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

“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," he continued. "This emergency declaration will ensure we can continue to prepare for and appropriately respond to Virginians’ needs during this time.”

Virginia joins D.C. and Maryland in making an emergency declaration.

Northam made multiple recommendations that affect people statewide.

A woman whose husband works in the same building as two people who now have coronavirus was frustrated to learn that he couldn't be tested for the virus. News4's Julie Carey reports.

He advised all Virginians to avoid large gatherings “for the time being.” He said he was canceling all state conferences and large events for the next 30 days and urged local governments and private organizers to follow suit. He also announced new restrictions on travel for state workers.

"The situation is fluid, and it is changing rapidly," the governor said.

Anyone who lives in a nursing home and has symptoms gets top priority for immediate testing. Additionally, Virginia is working with insurers to waive copays related to the coronavirus.

Northam said he is watching how other states are handling COVID-19 testing and that drive-thru testing may be an option.

Here's the latest info on the 39 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia who had been diagnosed with the virus as of Thursday afternoon.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

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