Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife have tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced Friday.
The governor, who is a doctor, was told Wednesday that a member of the staff of his residence had tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said in a statement. Northam, a Democrat, and his wife, Pamela Northam, were then tested.
President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia, later Friday, an event that had drawn criticism from Northam’s administration because it will bring together 4,000 people in defiance of the governor’s executive order limiting public gatherings.
“As I’ve been reminding Virginians throughout this crisis, Covid-19 is very real and very contagious,” Northam said in a statement. “The safety and health of our staff and close contacts is of utmost importance to Pam and me, and we are working closely with the Department of Health to ensure that everyone is well taken care of. We are grateful for your thoughts and support, but the best thing you can do for us—and most importantly, for your fellow Virginians—is to take this seriously.”
Northam is not experiencing any symptoms, his office said, while his wife is experiencing mild symptoms.
The pair are working with public health officials in the state to trace the contacts they have made in recent days. Last Friday, Northam cast his vote during the early voting window in Virginia for the presidential election.
An official at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va., said that because Northam and his wife were on campus on Tuesday, that the school would notify public health officials about “a very small group of individuals” that Northam was in close contact with during the visit.
Northam is the second governor this week to test positive for Covid-19, after Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, and his wife, Teresa Parson.
As of Friday, there have been more than 7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the U.S., and more than 200,000 deaths from the virus.