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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam have both tested positive for COVID-19, the Democrat announced on Friday.

Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The couple was tested on Thursday after a member of their household staff was diagnosed with the coronavirus on Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening, @FirstLadyVA and I were notified that a member of our official residence staff had developed symptoms and tested positive for #COVID19,” Northam tweeted on Friday morning. “We both received PCR nasal swab tests yesterday and both tested positive.”

Northam said that although he is asymptomatic and his wife is only experiencing mild symptoms, they will adhere to “@VDHgov guidelines” and “will isolate at home for 10 days and then reevaluate our symptoms. I am in constant contact with my cabinet and staff, and will continue working from the Executive Mansion”

“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” Northam said in a press release. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of. 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.”

President Donald Trump – who has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the pandemic – will hold a rally in Newport News, Virgina, on Friday evening. His campaign stops have become colloquially known as “superspreader” gatherings, due to the widespread lack of mask usage and ornery inadherance to social distancing guidelines among his most die-hard supporters.

Despite a recent drop in reported cases, the coronavirus is still steadily ripping through Virginia’s population, and state health experts are warning that Trump’s event poses a “severe public health threat.”

Dr. Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, wrote in a letter to the privately-owned venue hosting the president and his fans that “the rally poses a concerning public health risk.”

Northam and other top health and transportation officials have granted the Transportation and Security Agency “the authority to enforce” pandemic-related restrictions

Public gatherings are limited to 250 people in Virginia, but Trump is expected to draw a crowd of roughly 4,000 people from across the country, which may trigger a clash between law enforcement and those hoping to attend.

Capturing Virginia and its 13 Electoral College votes are part of Trump’s reelection strategy, although it has not gone red in a presidential election since 2004.

Democrat Hillary Clinton won Virgina in 2016 by just under five points.



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