It could still be weeks before the worst of the coronavirus crisis hits Virginia.
State officials are preparing for a surge in the number of people who test positive between late April and late May, Gov. Ralph Northam said Wednesday that analysis of the latest models shows.
Northam told residents he was planning for the worst and hoping for the best.
“I want Virginians to prepare themselves for the long haul. We are talking months, not weeks,” he said at a news conference.
The governor thanked everyone who was abiding by the stay-at-home order that went into effect Monday.
“If all you’re doing is staying home, that in itself is a contribution,” he said.
He asked residents to stay home, even though it’s hard.
“Don’t go out if you don’t need to. Don’t go out because you’re bored. Go out when you need to, not when you want to. The more people that stay home, the fewer people get sick,” he said.
Statewide, 1,484 cases of the virus had been confirmed as of Wednesday afternoon. Thirty-four people had died. An additional 234 cases were announced since Tuesday, and seven more deaths.
State officials had these additional updates:
Sites for Additional Beds Sought: State officials and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluated 41 sites as potential places to put additional hospital beds. The potential sites include an Exxon Mobil facility in Fairfax, the Hampton Convention Center and a site in the Richmond area, the governor said. Updates on the site choices are expected Friday.
Absentee Voting: All Virginia residents should request an absentee ballot and vote by mail, Northam said. There’s a local election May 5 and congressional primary June 9. Go here to request a ballot.
Census Day: Northam reminded Virginians that Wednesday is Census Day and every person in the state, including children and people who are undocumented, should be counted. Census responses are confidential and used only for statistical purposes. Your responses will determine how resources are allocated. Go here to fill out your form.