Outgoing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a 30-day state of emergency on Monday amid spiking coronavirus cases and record-high hospitalizations in the state.
The order grants hospitals the power to increase bed capacity without new licensing processes and expands the use of telehealth. It also recognizes the licenses of out-of-state health professionals and expands the number of health workers who can administer vaccines.
“We’re taking action to help our hospitals,” Northam, who leaves office this weekend, said at a news conference Monday, WTOP reported.
Virginia reported nearly 3,500 COVID-19-related hospitalizations on Friday, the highest one-day total in the state since the pandemic’s outset in early 2020, WTOP reported. The number of patients requiring intensive care has doubled since Dec. 1, with most of them unvaccinated.
The governor said the surge in cases is fueled by the omicron variant and could peak in early February.