Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam addresses COVID-19 concerns to Virginians on Tuesday afternoon.

Amid escalating COVID-19 cases across the commonwealth, Gov. Ralph Northam addressed the state on Tuesday with a clear message: the coronavirus is still alive and spreading.

Cases and the percent positivity rate have been rising for about a month in Virginia.

The percent positivity, now at 6.2%, is a calculation of the positive results against the number of tests administered.

In addition, hospitalizations are increasing throughout the state.

“This is very concerning,” Northam said, noting that the temptation is high for gatherings especially as the holidays approach.

“I’m not saying don’t celebrate Thanksgiving,” the governor said. Instead, he’s pushing Virginians to take extra precautions to be safe, especially when gathering with people outside of a household.

Those precautions include wearing a mask, the No. 1 mechanism available to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The state’s numbers are rising for a simple reason, Northam stressed. More people are gathering and not wearing masks. Even gatherings with less than 10 people without masks can easily spread the virus.

“This virus is still alive and well and it’s very, very contagious,” Northam enforced.

Especially concerning are areas in Southwest Virginia where cases are rising due to community spread and there are fewer hospitals available to house patients.

Northam praised Monday’s news of a potential coronavirus vaccine having a 90% effective rate, but warned it’s not a “magic bullet” that will bring life back to pre-pandemic era.

When that vaccine is approved, it’ll take months to distribute through the state.

Still, there’s no denying the fact that the virus fatigue has already set in for many across the commonwealth.

“I know you’re tired,” Northam said. “But now isn’t the time to give up. Instead, it’s more important than ever to double-down and take precautions.”