The number of COVID-19 cases is spiking in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, according to NBC News data, as some virus testing sites report long lines and overwhelming demand.
One Loudoun County testing site opened more than an hour early Tuesday because a long line of cars had formed, causing traffic issues. People lined up for miles.
The site closed early after exceeding its capacity. Officials said they estimated testing about 1,400 people.
A flood of people got tested regionwide leading up to Christmas, but that doesn’t entirely explain the surge of cases.
The proportion of people testing positive has soared to above 15% in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Earlier this month, fewer than 10% of tests were coming back positive.
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The virus is spreading faster as the highly transmissible omicron variant takes hold. D.C., plus most counties in Maryland and Virginia, are all reporting case numbers far above the standard of substantial transmission defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While record-setting case numbers in D.C. are discouraging, some residents said they felt encouraged by seeing lines of people trying to get self-tests.
“It actually makes me feel a little bit better, because you can actually see people taking initiative now,” Mark Jenkins said near the Anacostia Library in Ward 8.
In Farragut Square, where people can take PCR tests or get home rapid tests or home PCR tests, resident Darvin Yates spoke about his father, who died of COVID.
“I know the seriousness of it. I just hope other people can see the seriousness of it,” he said.
Here’s a closer look at the data for Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
Washington, D.C., COVID-19 Data
D.C. has seen a nearly 10-fold increase in cases, which have surged 987% in the past two weeks.
The District reported 9,200 new cases between Dec. 23 and 26, an average of 2,300 a day, according to city data.
About 300 people were hospitalized in that four-day period, which included Christmas. That’s up from 188 on Wednesday.
Two more people died during that time: a 73-year-old woman and an 85-year-old woman.
Maryland COVID-19 Data
Maryland has reported a 234% increase in cases over the past two weeks, according to NBC News.
The positivity rate has rocketed to about 17.5% over the past seven days — the highest since May 2020, according to the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
Over 1,800 COVID-19 patients were in Maryland hospitals Tuesday, the highest numbers seen since January 2021.
“We are seeing an incredible spike in the amount of COVID patients we are seeing in the emergency department,” said Dr. Reginald Brown, Emergency Medical Director at Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center.
Virginia COVID-19 Data
The number of COVID-19 cases has doubled in Virginia since mid-December, and deaths are up more than 30%, according to NBC News.
Hospitalizations are up to 1,711, an increase of 35% compared to two weeks ago.