NORFOLK, Va. — Author's note: The video above is on file from Dec. 28, 2021.
Wednesday, as Virginia hit an all-time high for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day, Gov. Ralph Northam published a letter urging people not to panic.
The state's cases started ticking up in the days leading up to Christmas. In early December, the commonwealth was seeing about 3,000-4,000 cases per day. Wednesday, the Virginia Department of Health recorded more than 12,000 newly detected cases.
Northam contrasted these cases with the type of spikes the commonwealth saw back in 2020 and early 2021.
"One year ago, vaccines had just become available, so nearly no one had gotten a shot," Northam wrote. "Today, more than 14 million shots have been given in Virginia. Only nine states have given more shots, and those states are all larger than Virginia. That’s good news, and it’s thanks to a lot of hard work by Virginians."
Northam reminded people that most patients who have had to be hospitalized with COVID-19 recently are unvaccinated.
"This is entirely avoidable if everyone gets their shots," he said.
Northam urged people to take certain steps to keep themselves healthy and out of hospitals, where doctors, nurses and other employees are exhausted.
"It’s not fair to put even more pressure on hospital workers to care for people whose sickness is avoidable."
Here's what he recommended:
- Stay away from people who haven't been vaccinated
- Wear a mask when you're in public
- Get a COVID-19 booster shot
- If you have a child five years old or older, get your child vaccinated
- If you're unvaccinated, wear a mask and practice social distancing
- Get PCR tested if you feel sick (click here to find testing sites)
- Use good judgment when seeking rapid antigen tests, since they're limited nationwide
You can read the full letter below.