D.C. now has two coronavirus metrics in the red zone and Maryland reported Friday a record-breaking number of new coronavirus cases.
In the past week, at least 10,264 Marylanders were diagnosed with COVID-19, in addition to 7,844 Virginians and 874 Washingtonians.
“These weeks and months ahead will be the most difficult we have faced,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.
Leaders throughout the region are imploring the public to wear masks, maintain a social distance and follow other pandemic safety precautions amid the surge.
Virginia has announced new measures to fight COVID-19 as cases of the virus have spiked across the country.
Among the requirements set to go into effect at midnight Sunday, attendance at indoor and outdoor gatherings will be reduced from 250 people down to 25, and the age at which children must wear masks in indoor public spaces will be lowered from age 10 to 5. Read more here.
The University of Maryland announced Friday afternoon that it will immediately transition all undergraduate courses (with a few approved exceptions) to virtual instruction beginning Monday.
Graduate courses may continue in their present mode, and approved research activities may continue, the university said in an email Friday. Libraries will transition to modified Phase 2 operations, the university said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, emphasized the importance of wearing masks, frequently washing hands and avoiding gatherings or at least taking steps to make them safer.
“It sounds simple in the context of this ominous outbreak, but it can in fact really turn it around and that’s what we need to do,” Dr. Fauci said.
D.C. now reports two reopening metrics are in the red zone, out of 10 that are graded by colors.
The daily case rate of 16.8 per 100,000 population being red indicates there is substantial community spread.
The hospital utilization rate of 90.2% indicates insufficient health system capacity.
Both numbers had increased from the previous day reported.
D.C. tracks 14 metrics that inform leaders and the public about what phase of reopening may be appropriate. Ten of them are color coded, with red for phase zero/one, yellow for phase two or green for phase three.
If enough numbers go into the red zone, leaders may consider moving back into reopening phase one or zero, which was the stay-at-home order, Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
Coronavirus Cases by Neighborhood in D.C.
Source: D.C. Coronavirus Hub Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
Last updated Nov. 24
Frederick County, Maryland’s, Board of Health decided to implement new regulations in the county and the city of Frederick starting at 5 p.m. Friday to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The county says coronavirus cases this week are expected to set an all-time high.
Masks or face coverings will be required in indoor public spaces and outdoors where social distance can’t be maintained for anyone 5 years or older. Capacity limits for inside and outside bars, nightclubs and similar venues are capped at 25 people or 25%, whichever is less.
Other capacity limits include 50% at houses of worship, 25% at fitness centers, 50% at restaurants and 75% at retailers.
“We need each person in Frederick County to take personal responsibility,” Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county’s health officer, said in a statement.
The superintendent for Fairfax County public schools recommends bringing more students into the classroom as early as next week.
During a virtual meeting last night, the school board reviewed the concurrent learning model being tested in two schools.
It's a pilot program that puts small groups of students in class with a teacher while a web camera streams that same lesson to other students online.
The superintendent says the pilot program is small and needs to stay that way.
The school board decided they need more time to see how the pilot program is working before they expand it to other schools.
Parents’ reactions are mixed but a very vocal group says students are falling behind and need to be in back in the classroom. Some parents are ready to send students back to school but many teachers don't think it is safe to do right now.
The U.S. government is teaming up with drug store chains to distribute a coronavirus vaccine.
The agreement announced Thursday will allow the stores to give free coronavirus vaccines after they are approved and become available to the public.
The goal is to make COVID-19 vaccines widely available like flu shots. Drug stores in all 50 states are included in the agreement.
Currently, there are no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but officials say they anticipate one or more will be approved before the end of this year.
What the Data Shows
D.C., Maryland and Virginia combined recorded 2,881 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous day, the highest single-day total for our region.
That includes 159 cases in D.C., 853 in Virginia and 1,869 in Maryland.
More Marylanders were reported diagnosed with COVID-19 on Friday than on any other day of the pandemic. Hospitalizations are also at their highest point since June 11, Gov. Larry Hogan said.
Daily cases per 100,000 population have been rising, as well. Currently, it’s at 16.8 in D.C., 23.48 in Maryland and 18.2 in Virginia, according to state and CDC data.
For comparison, D.C. aims to have that metric below 15 in phase two. Prince George’s County leaders said they are aiming for 10 or below.
D.C.’s positivity rate was at 3.7% on Nov. 9, which is better than some points this week but worse than the 2.9% reported one week ago.
Virginia’s weekly average positivity rate has been climbing since mid-October. It’s now at 6.5%.
Maryland’s positivity rate on Thursday was 6.71% and 5.87% over the previous week. It has been generally rising since Oct. 30, when the daily rate was 3.43% and the seven-day average rate was 3.77%.
Many jurisdictions have been hoping to keep positivity rates below 5%. A lower positivity rate means enough people are getting tested.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 100,000 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
- Prince George's County is tightening restrictions and requiring masks be worn outdoors.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday how the state will allocate about $70 million in federal aid as the state braces for months of rising coronavirus cases.
- Eight players on the University of Maryland football team tested positive for COVID-19. The game against Ohio State has been canceled.
- Maryland released a new contact tracing app and at 5 p.m. Wednesday reduces indoor operations for bars and restaurants from 75% to 50% in response to rising coronavirus cases and increased hospitalizations.
- A review by the News4 I-Team has found concerns that Prince George’s County, which has the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state, has received what some are calling an underwhelming share of the more than $165 million in aid thus far.
- Coronavirus hospitalizations in Maryland this week reached the highest level since June. Here's how the state is responding.
- D.C. now requires travelers from all but four states get tested for COVID-19, once before travel and again if they plan to stay in the District for more than three days. Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Vermont are the exceptions.
- Almost 100 employees at motor vehicle branches around the D.C. area have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maryland and Virginia released plans Oct. 20 for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, but D.C. is staying mum for now.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser is urging D.C. residents who use iPhone or Android smartphones to opt in for a new COVID-19 contact-tracing app.
- Most new COVID-19 cases in D.C. come from social events, according to data presented by the District's health department.
- Maryland rolled back capacity limits at indoor dining establishments and urged people against traveling to states where coronavirus is spreading too fast.
- Montgomery County has reduced capacity limits at many businesses, including for indoor dining, to 25%. The county previously stopped giving waivers for alcohol sales after 10 p.m.
- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said that his administration is focused on promoting healthy behaviors such as mask-wearing, frequent hand washing and social distancing rather than rolling back reopening as cases rise.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
- Maryland child care providers can return to the full teacher-to-child ratios for which they are licensed, state officials said, and some nursing homes will be able to resume indoor visits.
- Montgomery and Prince George's counties are among those that did not enter phase three with the state of Maryland. Here's a roundup of counties in our area.
- Prince George's County allowed tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. Officials recently adjusted some other rules too. Read more.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan authorized all public schools in the state to begin “safely” reopening because state metrics on the coronavirus show improvements. The state “strongly suggests” that local school districts bring students back into schools but cannot force them to do so, Hogan said. Montgomery and Prince George's schools both affirmed that they were not altering plans to hold classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Prince George's County revisited 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 July 1, loosening restrictions on restaurants, stores, gyms and pools. Northam has said more restrictions could be implemented if cases continue to grow.
- D.C. entered phase two June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two June 19, reopening with restrictions gyms, houses of worship, indoor dining and retail.
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.