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Northam says country needs 'national solution' for shortage of masks, gloves, other equipment; Virginia Tech student tests positive for COVID-19

Gov. Ralph Northam said Friday the country needs a “national solution” to address the critical shortage of masks, gloves and other protective equipment.

Northam said that a stunted supply of personal protective equipment, in part due to manufacturing delays in China, has left Virginia and health care providers competing in the market for the needed goods.

“We’re all out there bidding literally against each other,” Northam said in a briefing with reporters. “Here in Virginia we’re bidding against our own hospital systems, other states and the federal government.”

Health care providers around the state, including nursing homes, have reported a quickly-diminishing supply of protective equipment to make sure doctors, nurses and caretakers are not exposed while caring for patients.

In a Thursday call with President Donald Trump and other governors, Northam said Trump was urged to use his executive powers to ramp up production of protective equipment and coordinate the distribution to those in need.

“Production and distribution of [personal protective equipment] really must be managed at the federal level,” Northam said. “There is no time to waste.”

Northam also said that in conjunction with officials in Maryland and D.C., he is asking the Trump administration to set up a federal testing site for the area, given the large number of essential federal workers that reside in the region.

“We have to be able to test these individuals in real time. Our specific region needs special accommodation for testing and bed capacity to support this population,” Northam said.

Trump will travel to Norfolk this weekend to see the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship that will travel to New York to expand hospital capacity, Northam said.

A spokeswoman for Northam, Alena Yarmosky, said Northam is not expected to meet or greet Trump.

Virginia Tech President Tim Sands said Thursday it would be “only a matter of days” before a confirmed case of the new coronavirus came to Blacksburg.

That prediction came true Friday.

A Tech student who is believed to have contracted COVID-19 during a recent trip abroad has tested positive, the university announced.

The New River Health District said the patient, a man in his 20s, “is self-isolating, with no known exposures to the public.”

“There is no evidence of a risk of community spread,” the health district said in a statement. “To protect patient privacy, no further information will be provided.”

Tech said the student lives off-campus in Blacksburg.

The announcement follows one by Radford University on Tuesday that a student who had returned to campus after spring break travels had tested positive for the virus.

“In both cases confirmed in the district thus far, the patients took the right steps to limit the risk of exposure to others around them,” Dr. Noelle Bissell, director of the New River Health District, said in a statement. “They acted entirely appropriately.”

Public health officials expect more cases to be confirmed as testing becomes more widely available.

Bissell noted that most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms, which includes fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath.

The Virginia Department of Health reported Friday that 604 people in Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19.

That’s an increase of 144 cases from the 460 reported Thursday.

The VDH also said that 7,337 have been tested for the virus in Virginia. There have been 14 deaths and 83 people have been hospitalized.

There are confirmed coronavirus cases in residents of 69 of Virginia’s 133 cities and counties.

These numbers come for the VDH website. On March 19, state health officials said there’s a lag in the reporting of statewide numbers, and figures on the website might not include cases reported by individual localities or local health districts.

This is the breakdown of cases across the state according to the VDH website:

124 – Fairfax County

63 – Arlington County

55 – James City County

44 – Prince William County

43 – Loudoun County

29 – Virginia Beach

28 – Henrico County

18 – Alexandria

17 – Richmond

12 – Chesterfield County

12 – Newport News

11 – Charlottesville

11 – Stafford County

9 – York County

8 – Albemarle County

8 – Norfolk

5 – Chesapeake

5 – Hampton

5 – Harrisonburg

5 – Louisa County

5 – Williamsburg

4 – Danville

4 – Fauquier County

4 – Frederick County

4 – Mecklenburg County

4 – Rockingham County

3 – Fluvanna County

3 – Gloucester County

3 – Goochland County

3 – Manassas City

3 – Portsmouth

3 – Shenandoah County

2 – Accomack County

2 – Bedford County

2 – Culpeper County

2 – Hanover County

2 – Isle of Wight County

2 – Lee County

2 – Lynchburg

2 – Madison County

2 – Prince Edward County

2 – Prince George County

2 – Spotsylvania County

2 – Warren County

1 – Amelia County

1 – Amherst County

1 – Botetourt County

1 – Bristol

1 – Charles City County

1 – Fairfax City

1 – Franklin County

1 – Fredericksburg

1 – Greene County

1 – Halifax County

1 – Galax

1 – King George County

1 – Mathews County

1 – Nelson County

1 – Northampton County

1 – Nottaway County

1 – Orange County

1 – Pittsylvania County

1 – Poquoson

1 – Radford

1 – Roanoke County

1 – Rockbridge County

1 – Southhampton County

1 – Suffolk

1 – Washington County

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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