Governor and first lady of Virginia test positive for COVID-19
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and first lady Pamela Northam have tested positive for the coronavirus, the governor’s office announced Friday.
The Northams were tested Thursday afternoon after learning that a member of their official residence staff “who works closely within the couple’s living quarters” had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday. They said they will isolate for the next 10 days and evaluate their symptoms, per state health guidelines.
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, COVID-19 is very real and very contagious,” Northam said in a statement. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of.”
The governor is not experiencing symptoms, while the first lady is experiencing mild symptoms. The Northams are working with state health officials to trace their close contacts.
The executive mansion and Patrick Henry office building in Richmond, Va., will be closed for deep cleaning Friday while the governor’s office continues working remotely.
Northam’s positive diagnosis comes just two days after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) announced that he and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus.
In July, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) became the first U.S. governor to announce he tested positive for the virus.
In August, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for the virus in what appeared to be a false positive once he tested negative for it two times afterward in the same week.
President Trump is set to hold a campaign rally in Virginia on Friday evening — despite the objections of a local health official who said the Newport News event will violate Northam’s executive order banning gatherings of more than 250 people.
Natasha Dwamena, district director for the Department of Public Health, said in a Thursday letter that the rally, which is expected to draw more than 4,000 supporters, constitutes a “severe public health threat,” calling for it to be scaled down or canceled.
— Updated at 10:58 a.m.