During a news conference Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam said he has asked President Donald Trump to extend a deadline for federal funding for the state's National Guard and its COVID-19 response efforts.
The funding is currently set to expire at the end of May, but Northam said that will obviously need to be extended. The governor said that as the state approaches the first step of a phased reopening plan, testing efforts will need to continue and be ramped up -- and the National Guard has been instrumental in helping the state with its testing efforts.
Northam began the press conference by saying that the state recorded its first case of COVID-19 two months ago. Virginia is just now beginning to get to a point where reopening may be possible.
Northam and his administration are continuing to monitor health data -- like percent of positive tests, hospitalizations and bed capacity -- as they determine how to move forward. The governor still expects that Phase 1 of his reopening plan can begin on May 15th. His administration will provide more information for businesses about Phase 1 regulations on Friday.
Northam thanked the state's hospitals for their efforts to help long-term care facilities across Virginia. That includes helping to ensure those facilities are adequately staffed.
The Virginia Department of Health experienced a technical issue overnight, resulting in a delay of updated case information. Health officials believe that data will be reported later today, but it was still unavailable during Northam's press conference at 2pm.