Virginia extends elective surgery ban to May — 5 things to know

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam extended the state's ban on elective surgeries, local ABC affiliate WHSV - TV 3 reports.

What you should know:

1. Originally set to expire April 24, the ban was extended by one week to May 1. Mr. Northam said the ban will remain in place until State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, can ensure that easing the restrictions can be done safely and that medical facilities have sufficient personal protective equipment.

2. The order does not apply to procedures where a delay would cause harm to a patient. Outpatient visits in hospital-based clinics, family planning services and emergency needs are also exempt.

3. Hours before Mr. Northam announced the ban extension April 23, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association urged him to let the directive expire. In a public letter, the industry group said hospitals have sufficient capacity to handle both elective procedures and COVID-19 cases. VHHA also insisted the state's hospitals have a framework in place to resume procedures in "a responsible manner" that aligns with White House guidance.

4. President Donald Trump's "Opening Up America Again" plan, which was unveiled April 16, calls for resuming outpatient elective surgeries in the first phase of reopening.

5. As of April 23, 15 states were moving toward resuming elective procedures. Click here for updates on where restrictions are being lifted.

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