Virginia says a backlog of data led to a sharp increase in coronavirus numbers on Friday as the region continues to beat back a surge of cases from July.
The Virginia Department of Health said a technical issue resulted in cases that should have been reported on Wednesday and Thursday being reported on Friday.
However, even averaged out over the past week, the rush of new cases indicates Virginia may still be in that surge.
Data from Maryland and D.C. support the idea that the uptick in those areas is subsiding for now. And Maryland's proportion of positive cases fell below 4% for the first time.
Disagreements are bubbling between leaders in Maryland's suburbs and the governor's office over two key fall events: elections and back-to-school.
Gov. Larry Hogan wants all voting centers in Maryland to open for November's election after long lines and delays during the primaries.
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks sharply criticized the Governor's plan and accused him of putting "politics above health and safety. She's proposing several things including opening just 15 polling places in the county on Election Day and expanded early voting.
The state board of elections was set to meet at 2 p.m. Friday to consider their recommendations to the governor.
Montgomery County's school board affirmed a plan to have public schools conduct the first semester of classes online. But things are more uncertain for private schools that hoped to hold in-person classes.
Health Officer Travis Gayles on Wednesday reissued an order requiring nonpublic schools to stay closed through Oct. 1.
The order is a direct challenge to Gov. Larry Hogan, who issued an emergency order Monday barring county officials from requiring private schools to close.
An art installation outside the Capitol on Thursday highlights the difficult decisions parents, politicians and school leaders face when planning for kids' futures. Nonprofit ParentsTogether showed the work of students expressing anxiety and discomfort during the pandemic.
The organization is calling on Congress to give relief to families in the next round of stimulus, which is under discussion.
What the Data Shows
D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each making progress on reducing the number of new cases added each day on average. But levels are still significantly higher than they were one month ago.
Virginia's 2,015 new cases reported Friday was an artificially high number because some of those cases should have been reported during the previous two days.
Still, the seven-day average of new cases indicates that Virginia is at a troubling high point, reaching 1,091 on Friday. It had only been higher on one day since the pandemic began, on May 31.
More than 1 million Marylanders have been tested for coronavirus, the governor said Friday. As testing ramps up, fewer cases in the state are coming back indicating an infection, Hogan said.
D.C. is at last reporting a sustained decrease in community spread, which means the growth of the virus is more contained. There is a lag in this data, but the most current information suggests a recent high-point around June
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
- New research by Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., found racial disparities in how the coronavirus affects children. Read more.
- Virginia has rolled out a smartphone app to automatically notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus, becoming the first U.S. state to use new pandemic technology created by Apple and Google. Read more.
- A group of frontline employees and union leaders at the Washington DC VA Medical Center said the agency is not ensuring workers potentially exposed to COVID-19 are given work leave to prevent the further spread of the virus. Read more.
- Several parents are suing for the right to send their children to private school in person in Montgomery County, Maryland. Read more.
- A new study from the University of Virginia estimates that very few Virginians have COVID-19 antibodies. Read more.
- Some dealers at MGM National Harbor say between positive coronavirus cases and quarantines, the casino is losing employees. Read more.
- Anyone who recently attended services at one Catholic church in D.C. is being advised to self-quarantine after the pastor, who criticized coronavirus-related restrictions, tested positive for the virus. Read more.
- American Airlines says a flight out of Virginia was delayed after a passenger refused to comply with its policy requiring a face mask. Read more.
- Private and parochial schools in Maryland can choose when to reopen, the governor said Monday, after Montgomery County ordered all private schools to remain closed. 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