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Governor Northam addresses school closures, COVID-19 testing during remarks in Virginia Beach

Governor Northam toured a COVID-19 Command Center in Virginia Beach and made remarks about statewide response efforts.

Governor Ralph Northam was in Virginia Beach Saturday where he addressed the latest efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the Commonwealth.

Before making those remarks, he toured a Sentara Healthcare COVID-19 Incident Command Center that's set up not far from Mount Trashmore.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander were also there.

After the tour, Northam talked to local media outlets about efforts to coordinate with hospitals and clinics around Virginia and discussed the ability to test and screen for the virus.

When asked if the state would be getting more access to test kits, the governor replied, "Absolutely. Every day is getting better, but we're still limited, and that's why the screening is very important."

The governor also spoke on bolstering staffing and equipment to hospitals and clinics in the event the outbreak worsens.

RELATED: How many test kits for coronavirus are available?

He also addressed the state order to close all K-12 public schools in Virginia.

"This is a very fluid, dynamic situation," Northam explained. "We'll be assessing after a week whether the schools can reopen, but until further notice, they'll be closed for two weeks."

In light of all the schools closing, many have shared their concerns about child care during this time, especially for working parents. The governor said that even though schools are closing, child care facilities won't be ordered to shutter their doors. 

He also pointed to federal legislation called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that would reportedly help alleviate some stress for Virginia families during the outbreak.

RELATED: Northam orders all Virginia K-12 schools to close for at least two weeks

Representative Elaine Luria went into more detail about the measure, which was passed in the House of Representatives Friday evening.

The legislation would provide 14 days of paid sick leave and 30 days of paid family leave, strengthen food security initiatives like SNAP and food banks, enhance unemployment insurance and provide free coronavirus testing.

RELATED: FoodBank anticipating 'increased demand' amid COVID-19 outbreak

There are 41 coronavirus cases in the state of Virginia as of March 14. Eleven of those cases are around the Hampton Roads area with eight in James City County and three in Virginia Beach.

RELATED: 30 cases of coronavirus in Virginia; 7 in James City County

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