Gov. Northam issues state of emergency following recent COVID-19 surge

RICHMOND, Virginia (WWBT) – Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency on Monday following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth.

“They’re tired. They’re exhausted and exhausted. And that’s why it’s so important for all of us to help them. So please only go to the hospital if you think you really need it. Let’s not put more pressure on hospital workers who don’t need to be there, ”said Gov. Ralph Northam, (D) Virginia.

Northam says the 30-day state of emergency is aimed at helping hospitals and long-term care facilities deal with capacity and staffing issues due to COVID-19 and the spread of influenza.

“The actions we have been talking about today will help our hospitals and their staff get through this current outbreak of COVID. But there will be another, ”Governor Northam said.

The announcement comes after the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians called on the doctor to declare a state of emergency due to the overwhelming number of patients admitted to emergency departments.

“We thank Governor Northam and his team for this crucial action, which should bring the necessary relief to emergency departments and state hospitals,” VACEP said on Monday afternoon. “The declaration underlines the important role that emergencies play as a safety net for all on a daily basis. We also encourage Virginians to use one of the many new community testing sites statewide if you need a COVID-19 test, as emergency services have only a limited supply and cannot only test high-risk symptomatic patients. “

Under Northam’s Emergency Order, he would allow the following:

  • Increase the number of available hospital beds
  • Increase the staffing capacity of hospitals and nursing homes
  • Allows providers with an active out-of-state license to practice in Virginia
  • Allows experienced physician assistants to practice without a written supervision agreement
  • Increases provider / patient ratios
  • Provides certain liability protections to healthcare workers who act in good faith to protect patients
  • Allow public health agencies greater flexibility in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

“Healthcare workers and hospitals are exhausted and again face increasing numbers of patients, affecting their ability to provide care.” Northam said. “These steps will help relieve tension, giving healthcare professionals more flexibility in caring for people. At the end of the day, the best thing anyone can do for our hospitals and their staff is get vaccinated. “

During the press conference, Northam also said Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin had been briefed.

“We want this process to be consistent. We want the best that we can be on the same score so that when we hand over the keys on Saturday Virginians still have good access to testing, good access to vaccines and access to hospitalizations as needed, ”Governor Northam said .

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin’s office issued the following statement Monday afternoon: “Governor-elect Youngkin and his transition team have been in frequent contact with hospital systems and healthcare professionals throughout the transition, and It is clear that our hospital systems continue to experience a historic staff crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic creates new challenges for them. Governor-elect Youngkin supports the use of tailored executive action that removes barriers to staff and gives healthcare providers the flexibility to deliver high-quality care and empower overworked healthcare professionals relief they need.

In Northam’s final days in power, the omicron variant continues to fuel a wave of new COVID infections across the state.

This is a developing story – check back for updates.

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