Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) announced he and his wife, Virginia first lady Pamela Northam, have tested positive for coronavirus. The couple became infected after a staff member who works at the governor’s mansion tested positive for the virus. The Northams are now working with state authorities to “trace their close contacts.”
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” Northam said. “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,” he added.
More than 3,100 Virginians have died from the virus, according to current statistics.
The news about the Northams comes after President Donald Trump was criticized by state and local health officials who warn his plans to hold a rally at the hangar at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport will cause a spike in coronavirus cases.
“With an estimated attendance of up to 4,000 people, the rally poses a concerning public health risk,” Natasha Dwamena, the director of the Hampton and Peninsula Health District, wrote to Richard Martinez, the general manager of Atlantic Aviation.
Referring to the Trump campaign, Dwamena added: “Considerable evidence from similar events held by this organization show face covering requirements are not being enforced at these events. Social distancing, strongly recommended as essential to stop the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, is also not enforced at these events.”