D.C., Maryland and Virginia saw the biggest jump in their coronavirus case numbers in over a month on Wednesday, aggravating concerns about reopening businesses and, eventually, schools.
Prince George's County announced the school year would start with completely online classes, through at least Jan. 29. Prince William will hold online classes through at least Oct. 30.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said she plans to extend the city's state of emergency through early October. Sources told News4 that the city will start school in the fall with in-person class two days a week and virtual learning three days a week.
The city is still bracing for a surge of patients at local hospitals. While it hasn't been needed yet, the medical facility at the Washington Convention Center will remain in place in anticipation of flu season.
Both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan warned local officials on Tuesday to enforce coronavirus rules so that the progress those states have made in fighting the virus doesn't get wiped out.
The two leaders also are concerned that coronavirus case numbers are spiking among young people.
The spikes come as leaders of school districts throughout the region ready for fall. Loudoun and Fairfax families faced a deadline Wednesday to chose between all-online or a hybrid of virtual and in-person school for fall.
More details on plans for D.C. and suburban schools are expected in the coming days.
What the Data Shows
D.C., Maryland and Virginia each counted high numbers of new coronavirus cases in data released Wednesday morning. It's been a month since any of those areas reported higher single-day numbers.
The region as a whole had a single-day increase of 1,895, the largest since May 30.
D.C. ended a five-day streak in which no residents with the coronavirus died. Three residents were reported on Wednesday to have died.
The city conducted a record number of tests last week and had a 3% positivity rate, a good indicator.
Northern Virginia continues to fare better than the rest of the state, adding 284 cases compared to 800 throughout the rest of the commonwealth.
Maryland's and Virginia's governors each expressed concerns about the spread of the virus among young people.
The positive test rate among Marylanders under 35 is now 84% higher than it is for Marylanders 35 and over, Hogan said Tuesday.
In Virginia, the infection rate among people between ages 20 to 29 is up 250% since early June, Northam said.
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
Schools Plan for Fall
Schools are starting to detail their plans for the fall.
Prince William County will begin the school year online for most students. In-person schooling could return after the first quarter ends on Oct. 30. Read more.
Prince George's County will conduct all-online classes in the fall, forgoing in-person classes at least through January. Read more.
D.C. Public Schools will reopen in the fall with a mix of in-person and distance learning as the coronavirus pandemic continues, sources tell News4.
Montgomery County schools on Wednesday said they are committed to starting school online on Aug. 31. Then, they'll assess the coronavirus risk to see when, or if, in-person classes could get phased in. Read more.
The superintendent for Arlington Public Schools said he will propose delaying the start of school and implementing full-time distance learning.
Fairfax County Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools families face a deadline on Wednesday to make their decision between all-online learning or a hybrid plan in which their children would go to school for a few days each week.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- More than 100 eviction cases were heard Wednesday in Alexandria. A majority of those families are neighbors at Southern Towers, a large apartment complex. Read more.
- Two Silver Spring, Maryland, businesses were shut down as the governor urged localities to more strictly enforce rules. Read more.
- Many Fairfax County Public School students want to return to in-person classes. With 67% of students submitting decisions, more than 55% opted for in-person school and 45% chose online-only. Read more.
- Dozens of Loudoun County teachers rallied on Monday, saying they don't feel safe going back for in-school instruction. Read more.
- School nurses in Prince George’s County feel they are being left out of the conversation about returning to school. Here's more.
- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice moved Monday to close bars in the state's largest college town and reimpose restrictions on large gatherings as coronavirus cases rise to record levels. Read more.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan weighed in on how schools should handle reopening in the fall. Here's more.
- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says more information on school reopenings could be announced Thursday.
- Virginia entered phase three reopening on July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. But Gov. 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.
- Washington, 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 the CDC guidelines.
- 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