Gov. Ralph Northam was cleared to return to work Tuesday after he and his wife were diagnosed with COVID-19 in late September.

Northam held his first media briefing in more than a month on Tuesday.

Northam said that he and the first lady experienced mild COVID-19 symptoms, and they were isolated for 18 days after the diagnosis.

Sixty-five of his staff members were also told to quarantine and all of them tested negative for COVID-19, the governor said.

Northam again stressed the need for wearing face coverings, especially while indoors. The governor urged Virginians to be especially cautious with the onset of shorter days and colder weather ahead.   

“All of the outdoor socializing we have been able to do is getting harder. People are less likely to want to meet up outside when it’s 40 degrees or below,” he said. “All of this means more people closer together indoors.

“This is when the virus spreads, when people gather together and don’t wear masks, and don’t keep their social distancing,” Northam added.

Adhering to the recommended public health guidelines prevented a widespread COVID-19 outbreak amongst his staff, Northam said.

“Compare that to the Rose Garden,” Northam said in a reference to a Sept. 26 ceremony at the White House.

“It was a gathering where people cavalierly sat together, stood together, hugged each other. You saw it, just like I saw it. No masks. No social distancing, and look at the number of people that tested positive,” Northam said.

Those who tested positive for the virus included President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania.

Northam also touched on reports that members of an anti-government paramilitary groups discussed kidnapping him, along with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. An FBI agent disclosed that information earlier this week.

Northam blamed Trump for the plot, citing comments by the president urging his supporters to “liberate Virginia.” 

“Words have meaning to people, when our leaders make statements like this. That’s just one example of many,” Northam said.