Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday a statewide curfew from midnight to 5 a.m. until February — part of his latest measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic as cases and hospitalizations surge.

The order goes into effect from midnight Monday to Jan. 31, thought it could be lifted or changed as warranted. The exceptions for the stay-at-home order are going out for food and goods, traveling to and from work, and to seek medical attention

“New daily case numbers are higher than they have been at any previous point in the pandemic, and while the trends in Virginia are better than most of the country, we are taking action now to slow the spread of this virus before our hospitals get overwhelmed,” Northam said. “We already have strong public health measures in place, and with these additional steps, we can turn this around. Virginians, if you don’t have to be out, stay at home. Whenever we are around other people, we all need to wear a mask, indoors and out.”

The governor made his order as the Virginia Department of Health reported 1,685 hospitalizations Thursday, a new record high for the fourth consecutive day.

The state’s present mask requirement, which mandates face coverings in public while indoors for all older than 5, will be expanded to include outdoor places where social distancing would be difficult and encompasses indoor settings except for households.

Northam’s order also limits social gatherings to 10 people, down from 25.

The Democratic governor said the order was made with the well-being of Virginians in mind.

“These are common-sense things we can all do to take care of each other and stay safe,” he said. “This is not about getting people in trouble — this is about everyone doing their part and reducing opportunities for people to get sick.”

As of Friday, Virginia has 274,438 coronavirus cases and 4,370 virus-related deaths, according to state health department statistics.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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