New guidance released by the Trump administration on Thursday declares teachers to be essential workers, possibly exempting them from quarantine requirements if they're exposed to COVID-19.
It comes as parents and guardians across the D.C. area are learning of coronavirus spreading at day care centers.
Dozens of infections have been connected to facilities in Virginia and the D.C. Health Department has investigated positive cases at multiple centers in the District.
With hundreds of thousands of kids in childcare, the numbers are unfortunate but not surprising.
"It's to be expected that we're gonna have teachers and children who will come down with COVID," said Virginia Childcare Association Executive Director Kim Hulcher.
Hulcher said that personal protective equipment and financial support are needed to help child care centers prepare.
How to respond if educators and caretakers are exposed to COVID-19 will be a continuing issue: Enforcing a two-week quarantine could stop asymptomatic spreading, but it could also leave schools and day cares short-staffed.
What the Data Shows
When it comes to the number of coronavirus infections diagnosed every day, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are where they want to be.
Statistics show the downward trend of cases is continuing. On Friday, D.C. reported 60 new cases, Maryland 670 and Virginia 888.
Hospitalizations are also significantly lower than they were at the peak.
In D.C., hospitalizations for COVID-19 have fallen to their lowest level since the pandemic began. The smallest number was 75 people hospitalized on Aug. 10; on Friday, that number is 78.
Maryland and Virginia are below peak hospitalization numbers, but still have many more residents getting inpatient care than they were at the nadir.
Maryland has 455 confirmed hospital patients with coronavirus, compared to a high of 1,711 on April 30 and a low of 386 on July 13.
Virginia has 876 confirmed hospital patients with coronavirus, compared to a high of 1,095 on May 7 and a low of 523 on June 28.
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
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Virginians on unemployment will get an extra $300 on top of what the state pays out. Read more.
- Special needs students are among the first groups who should get in-person instruction, Fairfax County school officials say. Read more.
- 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.
- Private and parochial schools in Maryland can choose when to reopen after a back-and-forth between county health officials and the governor. Read more.
- Prince George's County is revising its phase two reopening executive order due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, according to the county executive's office.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening on July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- Prince George's County entered full phase two on June 23, allowing the MGM Casino and gyms to reopen.
- D.C. entered phase two on June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two on June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
- Maryland entered phase two of reopening on June 10, permitting indoor dining, outdoor pools and outside amusements to reopen.
How to Stay Safe
There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:
- Anyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering. Keep it over your nose and mouth.
- Wash your hands often. When you do, scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. As a backup, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with anyone who lives outside your home. That means staying six feet away from anyone outside your circle, even if you're wearing masks.
- Always cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report