With coronavirus hospitalizations causing overflow, and cases at an all time high, states are taking matters into their own hands, imposing mitigation measures (or not). The latest to take action is Virginia, where Governor Ralph Northam just announced a “modified stay-at-home order.” “This is not about getting people in trouble, this is about doing the right thing,” Northam said. Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.

A Virginia ICU Worker Warned of “People in Body Bags”

Northam had hinted these measures were to come. “We know people gather in large groups and we know that is a problem, and we will take some measures to mitigate those numbers,” he said recently, singling out churches for some of the spread. “You don’t have to sit in the church pew for God to hear your prayers … worship with a mask is still worship, worship outside or online is still worship.” 

Hospitalizations have been a worry in Virginia, with a record 4,398 cases, and current hospitalizations topping 2,000 patients, a record. At his press conference, Northam showed a video of an ICU worker pleading her audience follow the guidelines. “We’re losing more than we keep … I’ve put an ungodly amount of people in body bags.”

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Here is the Virginia Order in Full:

Governor Ralph Northam today announced new, targeted measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 as new cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in all areas of the Commonwealth. Executive Order Seventy-Two directs Virginians to stay at home between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., implements a universal mask requirement, and lowers the limit on social gatherings from 25 people to 10 people. The order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14 and remain in place through January 31, 2021, unless rescinded or amended.

“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,” said Governor Northam. “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.”

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

The following mitigation measures will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 14: 

  • Modified Stay at Home Order: All individuals in Virginia must remain at their place of residence between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Exceptions include obtaining food and goods, traveling to and from work, and seeking medical attention.
  • Universal mask requirement: All Virginians aged five and over are required to wear face coverings in indoor settings shared with others and when outdoors within six feet of another person. This order expands the current statewide mask mandate, which has been in place since May 29, and requires all individuals aged five and over to wear face coverings in indoor and outdoor public settings outside of their own household. These changes are consistent with new CDC guidelines, released December 4, which recommend universal wearing of face coverings.
  • Reduction in social gatherings: All social gatherings must be limited to 10 individuals, down from the current cap of 25 people. Social gatherings include, but are not limited to, parties, celebrations, or other social events, regardless of whether they occur indoors or outdoors. This does not apply to religious services, employment settings, or educational settings. Restaurants and retail stores are already governed by strict social distancing requirements, and are not included in this limit.
  • Continued limits on dining establishments: Virginia restaurants are currently governed by strict social distancing and sanitization requirements, which remain in place. The on-site sale, consumption, and possession of alcohol remains prohibited after 10:00 p.m. in any restaurant, dining establishment, food court, brewery, microbrewery, distillery, winery, or tasting room. All restaurants, dining establishments, food courts, breweries, microbreweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms must close by midnight.
  • Teleworking: Employees that can telework are strongly encouraged to do so.

RELATED: 7 Side Effects of Wearing a Face Mask

How to Survive the Pandemic in Your State

As for yourself, follow the fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, and don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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