Northam (D) said he was lifting the ban on elective surgeries he imposed five weeks ago, allowing doctors, dentists and veterinarians to resume seeing patients on a non-emergency basis beginning Friday.
That ban, which applied to hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, dental offices and veterinarians amid concerns that the state’s hospitals would be overwhelmed by a surge in coronavirus cases, was originally scheduled to expire last week, but Northam extended it to May 1.
On Wednesday he confirmed that he would not extend it further, touting the decision as proof that the commercial and social restrictions he has imposed have successfully slowed the spread of the virus.
Northam said the change also was possible because of the work that state and medical officials have done to secure more capacity for treating and testing coronavirus patients. But he warned that if cases surge again, it might be necessary to reinstate restrictions.