Reopening Virginia: Elective surgeries and dental procedures can resume May 1


RICHMOND, Va. (WJHL)- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced Wednesday that elective surgeries and dental procedures can resume after “midnight tomorrow” or May 1.

Northam introduced Dr. Elizabeth Reynolds to explain some of the new guidelines for dental clinics as they welcome patients back for routine treatment and preventative care.

She said guidelines for dental offices include suggestions for altering scheduling in order to sanitize in between appointments, as well as eliminating reception or waiting areas where patients might congregate.

“We all recognize that the longer dental practices remain closed to preventative and non-emergent treatment, the more likely that our patients’ untreated dental diseases will progress, increasing the complexity and cost for treatment,” Reynolds said.

Northam said that while the measures being taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 appear to be working, he said the numbers haven’t “flattened out” yet.

He said he’s still speaking with officials from across the state about the potential for opening certain regions of the state before others based on the spread of the virus in each community.

Northam also reported that a group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention arrived yesterday to aid in inspecting the state’s meat-processing facility for safety as concerns grow over outbreaks in meat-processing plants across the nation.

He said the fact that many of the workers at those plants are low-income and from communities of color worried him, saying that meant they are at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection.

“If we declare that workers at meat-processing plants are essential, then it is imperative that we continue to support their health and well-being,” he said, recounting legislation Virginia passed to expand Medicaid and raise the minimum wage.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates on

You can watch the entire news briefing on our WJHL Facebook page below.

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