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Gov. Northam and First Lady Test Positive for COVID-19

northam with a mask
Gov. Northam at a holiday proclamation for Juneteenth earlier this year. (Image: Crixell Matthews/VPM News)

Gov. Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam have tested positive for COVID-19. 

The couple were tested after a worker in the executive mansion came down with the virus.

The governor is so far asymptomatic, according to a press release from his office. His wife, Pam Northam, has mild symptoms.

“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” the 61 year-old governor said in a statement. “We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us—and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians—is to take this seriously.”

Contact tracers are working to track down people they’ve come into contact with. 

The governor and the first lady crisscrossed the state earlier this week, making seven appearances on Tuesday in Northern Virginia and Tidewater. The first lady made five stops throughout Prince William County, Manassas Park, and Fredericksburg on a “Back to School” tour, while the governor held press conferences in Hampton and Fairfax.

Both have worn masks in official appearances, according to Alena Yarmosky, a spokesperson for the governor.

Northam, a Democrat and pediatric neurologist, will continue working from the executive mansion, where the couple lives.

The couple will isolate there for the next 10 days.

Representatives for Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, and House Appropriations chair Luke Torian said those politicians had not come into contact with Northam over the past two weeks.

It was not immediately clear if any members of Northam’s cabinet were ill or had been tested; a spokesperson for Northam did not respond to a request for comment. 

State employees gave a deep clean to the Patrick Henry Building, where the governor works, and the executive mansion.

Northam’s announcement comes two days after Missouri’s governor and first lady tested positive for the coronavirus.

The average number of positive COVID-19 tests has decreased in Virginia over the last three weeks, according to an analysis from NPR.

Ben Paviour covers courts and criminal justice for VPM News with a focus on accountability.
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