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Governor Northam addresses coronavirus response efforts in Virginia

Governor Northam informed the public about statewide response efforts as the number of coronavirus cases in Virginia continues to climb.

RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam updated the public on how state officials are responding to COVID-19 in Virginia.

The governor, alongside health officials, discussed ongoing, statewide response efforts in a press conference Wednesday morning.

"It's up to us to keep ourselves and each other safe," Northam said.

Dr. Lilian Peake, a state epidemiologist, confirmed that the number of "presumptive positive" coronavirus cases in Virginia is up to nine. There are two cases in Virginia Beach, two cases in Fairfax, and one case each in Loudon County, Arlington County, Spotsylvania, Quantico and Ashland.

The test results are considered presumptive until they are sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and confirmed by the agency.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Virginia | Here are the cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Health officials report that most of the exposures in the Commonwealth stem from international travel.

The Department of Health is leading the state's response to the coronavirus, ensuring that anyone who might have been exposed will be monitored and tested.

Northam also noted what state employees can expect during this time.

“We have made plans for how state employees can telework and how to ensure that they have paid leave if they are affected. The commonwealth of Virginia employs more than 100,000 people," Northam explained.

“Our Department of Human Resources Management asked all agencies to update their telework, emergency operations and leave policies. We are encouraging private businesses to explore telework and paid time-off options as well.”

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During an announcement where the governor revealed two Amazon centers will be built in Suffolk and Chesapeake, he spoke to 13News Now briefly on the cases.

"My background is in healthcare, as you know, so we want to make sure that we are able to test individuals, identify who they are, if they do test positive, to isolate them and really do everything we can to keep this from spreading," Northam said.

Northam led a press conference before the first case even surfaced in Virginia, indicating that state officials were prepared for potential cases and that they're executing long-standing public health plans in response to the virus.

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Northern Virginia Congressman Don Beyer is self-quarantining for symptoms after he came into contact with a friend who had contracted the virus.

In the neighboring state of North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency after seven cases emerged in the state.

Northam is not declaring a state of emergency in Virginia at this time. He says officials will resort to that "when the time is right."

Officials in Washington D.C. confirm 16 cases have also surfaced in the nation's capital.

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