Mayor, County Leaders Urge Northam to Set Regions for Reopening

It is unlikely, with nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, that Northern Virginia will meet the metrics in the governor's "Forward Virginia" plan

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson (left) greets Governor Northam at an appearance last year. (Zebra file photo)

Alexandria, VA – Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) has said he plans to begin a phased reopening of Virginia on May 15. Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson and the chairpersons of Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun Counties – the five largest localities in the state – sent a letter to the governor, supporting his plan but urging caution.

It is unlikely, with nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth, that Northern Virginia will meet the metrics in the governor’s “Forward Virginia” plan.

The letter, dated May 10, urges Northam to determine specific regions for a more targeted reopening.

“We eagerly wish to rebuild our economy and help our residents recover,” wrote Mayor Justin Wilson with Chairs Libby Garvey (Arlington County), Jeff McKay (Fairfax County), Phyllis Randall (Loudoun County) and Ann Wheeler (Prince William County). “It is only through our regional achievement of these milestones that we will be positioned to avoid a more damaging return to business closures later in the summer.”

Northam’s plan is guided by the following metrics: 1) a downward trend of positive test results over a period of 14 days; 2) a downward trend of hospitalizations over a period of 14 days; 3) sufficient hospital beds and intensive care capacity; 4) increasing and sustainable supply of personal protective equipment such as masks, respirators, gloves and gowns; and 5) increased testing and tracing.

These five conditions must be met before Phase One of the reopening of Virginia can begin. According to an analysis by the region’s public health directors, all five metrics for Northern Virginia are either unmet or cannot be determined based on the data currently available.

Regardless of the timeline for reopening, the city asks residents to continue to help stop the spread. This includes staying home whenever possible, wearing face masks in public, and washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. For more info on stopping the spread of the coronavirus, click HERE.

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