Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Aug. 19

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

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D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each reporting lower numbers of new coronavirus diagnoses daily compared to a month ago, but the data continues to show the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on communities of color.

University of Minnesota researchers looked at 48,000 hospitalizations across 12 states, including Virginia. They found the percentage of hospitalizations among Black patients was greater than each state's Black population.

Virginia was the state that showed the greatest disparity for its Hispanic population.

A News4 analysis shows Hispanic patients accounted for 30.7% of Virginia hospitalizations compared to just under 10% of the state population.

However, it looks like Latino people are more likely to get hospitalized but less likely to die from a confirmed coronavirus infection. Latinos make up 10.8% of deaths.

Blacks represent nearly 20% of the state's population and around a quarter of the hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus.

The disparities exist in Washington, D.C., too. One of the starkest inequalities is that Black residents make up 73% of COVID-19 deaths, but about 46% of the population.

Compare that to whites in D.C.: Caucasians represent about 46% of the population, too, but around 20% of cases and 11% of deaths.

Hispanic or Latino people, who make up about 11% of the population, represent 25% of coronavirus cases and 13% of deaths in D.C.

What the Data Shows

A major positive indicator is that the seven-day average of new cases reported each day is at the lowest point in a month for D.C. (56), Maryland (609) and Virginia (872).

Those numbers have fallen compared to a month ago, when infections reached a peak.

The proportion of positive tests remain in a good spot for D.C. and Maryland (both reporting 3.2%) but are still a bit high in Virginia (6.7%, down from 7% last week).

The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 1,000 residents.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

Local Coronavirus Headlines

  • Montgomery County officials said in an update Wednesday that testing will resume at county sites using test kits from the state. Testing was suspended last week after the state health department ordered the county stop using saliva tests from a Rockville lab. Read more.
  • The federal government has started sending new COVID-19 testing systems to nursing homes around the country in hopes that the rapid results provided by antigen tests will slow the spread of the virus. Long-term care facilities certainly welcome that assistance, but some have major concerns about those tests. Get the News4 I-Team report.
  • Most people recently diagnosed with the coronavirus in D.C. had no known contact with someone who had the virus and did not attend events or travel, new data from the city says. Read more.
  • Montgomery County residents who have been hit financially hard by the coronavirus pandemic can apply for short-term rental assistance. The application is open through Aug. 31.
  • Metrorail service has increased to the highest levels since the pandemic began – and more stations are opening soon. Read more.
  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled a plan for limited new spending on blocking evictions, boosting high-speed internet access and more. Read about the plan.
  • Nearly 600 school bus drivers and food service workers in Frederick County, Maryland, will temporarily be laid off as students learn online during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.
  • With reduced capacity at restaurants across the area, Arlington is facing a problem of people spilling out onto the sidewalk. Here's more.
  • Just a day after Montgomery County, Maryland, temporarily shut down COVID-19 testing at four sites, the county announced all of its testing sites will be closed until further notice after the state raised questions about protocols used with some test kits. Read more.
  • The monumental decision made by the Big Ten on Tuesday afternoon to postpone its fall football season was a blow to the hopes of coaches, players and fans in College Park. Read more.
  • Many Maryland students will start the school year entirely online as the coronavirus pandemic continues — but local PTAs must meet in person, the state PTA says. Read more.
  • The Fauquier County School Board voted Monday to switch to virtual-only instruction two weeks before students were expected to return to the classroom. Read more.
  • New research by Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., found racial disparities in how the coronavirus affects children. Read more.

Reopening Tracker

How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth. 
  • Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on. 
  • Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.

Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report

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