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Coronavirus Expected to Hit Highest Levels in Virginia Within Two Months

Man at podium, others more than 6 feet away
Officials stood six feet or more apart from each other at the latest briefing. (Photo: Whittney Evans/VPM News)

Governor Ralph Northam says Virginia is expected to see a spike in coronavirus cases between late April and the end of May. 

To prepare, Northam told reporters Wednesday that the state has identified at least three potential sites for overflow hospital beds to care for a potential surplus of patients. They include the Exxon Mobile Facility in Fairfax, the Hampton Convention Center in Hampton Roads and an unidentified location in Richmond. 

The Army Corps of Engineers is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia National Guard to choose the locations. 

“We’ve looked at sites and looked at where we see the greatest need and potential impact on hospital capacity,”  Carlos Hopkins, Virginia’s Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs, said. “And so that’s how we prioritized the Northern Virginia region as well as the Hampton Roads region and the central region.”

However, Hopkins said the team will be looking at potential sites in Roanoke and Charlottesville next week. 

The final decision on overflow sites is expected to be announced at Friday’s briefing with the governor. 

Virginia received a third shipment this week of personal protective equipment, or PPE, from the national stockpile, including face masks.  But Northam said the state still needs more for healthcare workers. PPE is in short supply globally.

“We are competing with each other,” Northam said. “We’re competing with other countries. We’re competing with other states.”

As of Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health reported 1,484 positive or presumed positive coronavirus cases in Virginia, 208 have been hospitalized and 34 have died.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.
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