Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in Virginia as the commonwealth continues to see coronavirus cases increase.
17 people have now tested “presumptive positive” for the virus as of Thursday afternoon. The number rose from 15 cases announced at noon Thursday.
This is all comes five days after a U.S. Marine became the first person in the commonwealth to test positive.
The Tidewater area now has 4 cases — including two from a couple in Virginia Beach who went on a cruise to Egypt. It’s unclear where the other two cases in the “Eastern” region originated from.
Here’s the breakdown for geographic regions in Virginia.
- Central – 2
- Eastern – 4
- Northern – 10
- Northwest – 1
- Southwest – 0
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, VDH says 117 tests have come back negative. So far no deaths have been reported in Virginia due to the virus.
Northam’s declaration comes days after North Carolina and Washington, D.C. announced their own state of emergencies.
Virginia has been preparing for the coronavirus for “weeks,” the governor’s office wrote in a news release following a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Northam’s office says the state has enough funding to address the outbreak, but the state of emergency will help further by giving the state the ability to ease regulatory requirements and procurement rules.
The state of emergency will also help continue federal and multi-state coordination and make sure the most vulnerable Virginians have access to critical services.