Located adjacent to the nation’s capital, with ample access to shipping and a robust medical system, Virginia could have been a national leader in COVID-19 testing – but not under the failed leadership of disgraced Democratic Governor Ralph Northam.
Asking “Why is Virginia’s testing rate so low anyway?” the Roanoke Times editorial board excoriated Northam this week:
Yes, Virginia’s had trouble getting access to the supplies necessary for testing, but so has every state — and virtually all of them have done a better job. Why? The longer this goes on, the worse Virginia’s response looks…
The Virginian-Pilot editorial board joined the criticism, arguing that Northam’s testing failures are holding the state back from reopening and recovering:
Trouble is, Virginia has done a lousy job of testing. According to figures reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the commonwealth ranks near the bottom of states — 48th on a list that also includes the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — for per-capita testing with results.
The Kaiser Family Foundation issued an updated report on Thursday showing Virginia falling to 50th for testing. Virginia has conducted just 13.3 tests per 1,000 people, compared to the national average of 23.6. Virginia severely lags every neighboring state, including 9th-ranked Tennessee and 13th-ranked West Virginia, as well as Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Northam’s initial response to the crisis also fell woefully short of neighboring governors, waiting a full five days from Virginia’s first reported COVID-19 case to issue a state of emergency – the slowest in the National Capital Region. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared an emergency on the same day as his state’s first case, and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice acted before the state had a confirmed case.
“Public health experts agree that testing is essential to combating and recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, and Ralph Northam’s utter failure has put Virginia at a clear disadvantage,” said RGA Communications Director Amelia Chassé Alcivar. “Governor Northam owes Virginians answers on why the state is so far behind the region and the nation on this critical component of the fight against COVID-19.”