Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Nov. 13

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

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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 Dec. 9

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.

Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Scott Brabrand says that the number of coronavirus cases among students who are attending in-person school is low, and it needs to stay that way. The district says it needs more time to study pilot programs that have brought some students back to classrooms. News4's Juliana Valencia reports.

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

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

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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.
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