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Northam Prepared to Delay ‘Phase 1’ Reopening for N. Virginia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said at a Monday press conference that it is possible he could delay the reopening for Northern Virginia cities and counties beyond his suggested statewide reopening date of Friday, May 15.

While he is moving ahead toward a measured “Phase 1” reopening of some businesses and public spaces around the commonwealth later this week, Northam said he will make a definitive announcement on the Northern Virginia region at a Wednesday press conference where local representatives will be present with him to speak.

“We’ll work closely with [Northern Virginia],” the governor said Monday. As soon as they feel comfortable, he added, they would move into Phase 1.

“They’re not there yet,” he said.

He did not suggest a date for a delayed opening in Northern Virginia, saying only that it would be based on the data concerning new inflections of the Covid-19 virus and new hospitalizations.

The data has currently shown the rates to be dropping in other parts of Virginia, but they have continued to rise in Northern Virginia. Virginia Department of Health officials predict the area will hit its peak rate of infections on May 25.

Northam also said that working to coordinate openings in Northern Virginia would also have to take developments in D.C. and Maryland into account.

Of the 989 new cases of infections in the commonwealth in the last 24 hours, he said, 72 percent of them were in Northern Virginia