Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday urged President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to ramp up the flow of medical supplies to front-line workers who need them.
Northam spoke during a press conference Friday afternoon, his first since Wednesday after moving to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule for regular updates on the COVID-19 situation in Virginia.
Northam described the process of trying to get personal protective equipment as a difficult one.
“We’re all out there bidding, literally, against each other,” he said. “Here in Virginia, we’re bidding against our own hospitals, other states and the federal government.”
He implored that the production and distribution of these supplies “must be managed at the federal level.”
Northam also urged everyone to stay at home unless they have to go out for necessary supplies or to work at an essential business.
“I have said repeatedly, stay at home unless it’s essential that you go out,” Northam said. “If you do not have to leave your home, you should not leave.”
Northam addressed young people particularly who may feel immune to the effects of the virus, as it typically causes more severe symptoms and even is more life-threatening to older individuals.
However, Northam noted, 16 percent of Virginia’s cases so far have been people in their 20s. Although far more cases have been reported in older age groups, young people are not completely immune, either from becoming ill themselves or from spreading it to others.
“It affects all of us,” Northam said.
With a weekend full of nice weather approaching, Northam urged everyone who goes outdoors for fresh air to be vigilant, keep six feet of physical distance from others and wash their hands.