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‘No One Should Choose Between Health & Casting Ballot,’ Says Northam as Gov. Postpones State Elections

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has delayed the state’s June primary elections by two weeks and is asking the General Assembly to postpone the May general election until November.

“No one should have to choose between protecting their health and casting their ballot,” Northam said while making the announcement at a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Richmond.

Exercising his statutory authority, Northam is moving primary elections from June 9 back to June 23 and is asking Virginia lawmakers to move the state’s general and special elections scheduled for May 5 to Nov. 3.

In the City of Falls Church, only the U.S. Senate Republican primary in June will be affected by the postponements, the City’s registrar of voters confirmed to the News-Press.

At today’s press conference, Northam also expressed frustration with the federal government’s response to the pandemic, saying that states have been on their own in trying to procure supplies including personal protective equipment.

“The PPE market is chaotic and difficult due to the lack of federal direction,” Northam said, adding that states are competing against each other for supplies.

While the governor said no hospitals yet have run out of needed supplies, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, 12 facilities in the state are currently experiencing difficulty in obtaining or replenishing personal protective equipment.

There are currently 3,645 reported cases of Covid-19 in the commonwealth, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

The first positive case in the Fairfax Health District was reported on March 7 and in the month since, the Fairfax County Health Department says close to 600 people in the district have tested positive for the virus. As of today, there are 570 (15.6 percent of the state’s total) cases of Covid-19 in the district which includes the City of F.C. along with the City of Fairfax, Fairfax County and its towns. Falls Church’s eastern neighbor, Arlington County, has 254 cases.

In Falls Church, there have been three reported cases — two residents at the Kensington senior living center and one City employee — but since Fairfax health officials are no longer releasing information on each individual case, the total is likely more.

“The City government does not know the exact number of cases,” the City wrote in its online newsletter this week.”[B]ut we assume there are many.”

In Virginia there have been 75 Covid-19-related deaths, though at Wednesday’s press conference a VDH official said that 32 reported deaths at a Henrico County nursing facility had not been included in the total.

In Fairfax, officials have reported nine deaths in the district, the total unchanged from yesterday.

(Chart data source: Fairfax County Department of Health and Virginia Department of Health)