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Virginia Gov Ralph Northam declares state of emergency as coronavirus cases reach 17

RICHMOND, VA - FEBRUARY 09: The Virginia State flag and the American flag fly near the Virginia State Capitol, February 9, 2019 in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia state politics are in a state of upheaval, with Governor Ralph Northam, State Attorney General Mark Herring, both Democrats, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment involved with past uses associations with blackface and Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, a Democrat, accused of sexual misconduct by two women. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency over growing concerns of the coronavirus Thursday.  The number of presumptive positive or confirmed cases has reached 17, according to officials.  All large events and conferences were also canceled for the next 30 days.  The state joins the District and Maryland in declaring emergencies following the announcement of the pandemic.

“I believe this is the safest course of action at this time,” Gov. Northam said. “Protecting public health is our top priority.”

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