Despite cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise in Halifax County, with three new cases on Tuesday, the percent of those testing positive in the county and other counties in the south-central region is trending positively.
In a Tuesday press conference in which Governor Ralph Northam released more restrictions for Hampton Roads and the peninsula, he said the percent of positive cases of the coronavirus in other Virginia regions ranged from 5.7% to 7.3%.
In comparison, he said Hampton Roads had a positivity rate of 10.8%.
He also noted that local health directors across Virginia have been seeing a higher number of those in their 20s and younger testing positive for COVID-19.
Halifax County, as of Tuesday, had a total of 126 cases.
Local health directors across Virginia also are seeing an increase in socialization including celebrations.
In his efforts to avoid congregations, Northam issued an executive order that will begin Friday in Hampton Roads and the peninsula.
In that area, no alcohol will be sold or consumed on site after 10 p.m., and all restaurants must close by midnight, effectively closing bars in Hampton Roads.
Local indoor dining in Hampton Roads will now be at 50% capacity, this includes breweries, distilleries and wineries.
Northam also said gatherings of more than 50 people will be prohibited, including parties indoors and outdoors in Hampton Roads.
“This happens when too many people gather together… and too many people are selfish,” he warned.
When asked about his choice to take a regional approach rather than adding more restrictions to all of Virginia, he reminded the public that “all options are on the table” and that he monitors the data daily.
While the governor doesn’t like to continue to see individuals testing positive, he realizes that more people are being tested. He said they had a goal to test 10,000 individuals daily, and he said they’ve surpassed that goal testing approximately 17,000 to 20,000 daily.
As of Tuesday, 86,994 Virginians have tested positive, and there have been 2,095 deaths contributed to COVID-19, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
“Those are difficult numbers because those are real people and real lives,” said Northam.
But, he said Virginia has avoided dramatic increases that other states have seen.
“Cases are largely stable in four out of five districts in Virginia because people are following guidelines,” said Northam.
Recognizing that Virginia has taken “major steps forward,” he realizes that there is a “path out of this.”
“We can put this health crisis pandemic behind us,” the governor of Virginia said. “But, we have to diminish the numbers in order to do that.”