Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Nov. 17

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

NBC Universal, Inc.

With the Thanksgiving holiday fewer than 10 days away, many are struggling with advice that family gatherings should be canceled or limited this year.

On one hand, infections are soaring nationwide as more and more people become fatigued with following restrictions.

Cases in the D.C. region have surpassed the 375,000 mark as of Tuesday. Hospitalizations are also at concerningly high levels.

D.C. reported 275 new cases on Tuesday, the highest number since May.

Fifty more people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have died from coronavirus, officials reported Tuesday. It's the largest number of people to die in one day from COVID-19 in our region in about two months.

But on the other hand, there's hopeful news in the race for a vaccine.

Moderna announced Monday its vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective. That's the second major vaccine development in a matter of weeks.

Once a vaccine is proved safe and effective and granted approval by regulators, it will take some time to distribute. Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., have each submitted plans to the federal government.

In general, medical personnel and high-risk groups are set to get first access to a vaccine. Later, officials say it will be made available to anyone who wants one.

Here’s a look at COVID-19 vaccine front-runners, including how much they cost, who has bought them and how they’re stored — which has important implications for distribution.

Maryland will tighten restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants beginning at 5 p.m. Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday afternoon.

Bars and restaurants must end all dine-in service after 10 p.m., although takeout and delivery service will still be allowed. Retail businesses, religious institutions and gyms must limit capacity to 50%, in a rollback to phase two levels.

Hogan pushed back against misinformation about the virus and pleaded with residents to prevent people from getting sick, getting hospitalized and dying. 

Wearing a mask is “not a limitation on your right to infect other people,” he said. 

A Washington Football Team member has tested positive for COVID-19, the team said Tuesday in a statement.

The player immediately began to self-isolate and their close contacts were told to quarantine. The team will move all meetings online and restrict access to the Inova Sports Performance Center.

"The health and safety of our players, coaches and staff is our number one priority," the team said in a statement.

Before that announcement, the Washington Football Team said it will play this Sunday's game against the Bengals without fans in the stands.

The team only started allowing limited fans less than two weeks ago.

The largest school district in the area paused plans to have thousands of students return to class. News4's Shomari Stone spoke with parents about the sudden change

As coronavirus cases surge in our area, Fairfax County Public Schools paused plans to have thousands of students return to classrooms today.

Superintendent Scott Brabrand abruptly announced the school district will delay bringing back early HeadStart, pre-K and kindergarten students because of surging coronavirus cases in the county.

In a written statement, Brabrand said in part, “We made this decision as soon as new health metrics were released... We always anticipated the need to potentially adjust our return to school plans as necessary during this ongoing pandemic.”

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says a one-size-fits-all approach to in-person learning doesn’t make sense.

It’s unclear when Fairfax County could start in-person learning again.

Whether children in our region will return to in-person classes soon learning depends on the school district.  

On Wednesday, D.C. public schools are set to bring a limited number of students back to CARES classrooms at 29 elementary schools. Those classrooms will be monitored by a staff member while a teacher gives instruction virtually. So far, 400 families have accepted a seat.

Schools in the city of Falls Church plan to go fully virtual next week. They plan to switch back to hybrid learning the week after Thanksgiving.

In Alexandria, phased reopening has been expanded to include students in the Citywide Special Education program. Families must opt-in for in-person learning.  Students will be brought back in groups until Nov. 30.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says she isn't ready to introduce any new restrictions even as cases continue to rise. Instead, she's asking everyone to remain vigilant as we head into Thanksgiving. News4's Cory Smith reports.

Officials on Tuesday reversed a decision to cancel next month's Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery.

Organizers said Monday there was no way to ensure safety from the virus at the event, which typically draws large crowds of people to place wreaths on gravestones at the military cemetery. On Tuesday, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the cemetery to safely host the event after all.

"We appreciate the families and visitors who take time to honor and remember those who are laid to rest at our nation’s most hallowed ground," McCarthy posted on Facebook.

The courts in Maryland are partially shutting down through the end of the year. Already backlogged because of the pandemic, now there will be no new jury trials in 2020.

Defense attorneys criticized the move, saying their clients are being left to linger in jail.

Coronavirus Cases by Neighborhood in D.C.

Source: D.C. Coronavirus Hub Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
Last updated Dec. 9

What the Data Shows

Cases in our region have surpassed the 375,000 mark as of Tuesday. An additional 4,465 COVID-19 cases were diagnosed across D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The District reported 245 new cases, the largest increase since early May. Maryland and Virginia reported 2,149 and 2,071 new cases, respectively.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported 50 additional lives lost – the largest 24-hour jump in deaths in two months.

Seven-day averages are rising across the board. D.C. reported an average of 162, up 70 cases from last week. Virginia’s seven-day average is at 1,309, up 187 cases from last week. Maryland has seen the most extreme surge, with a seven-day average up to 1,871, nearly 600 cases higher than last week.

Hospitalizations in Virginia (1,392) are the highest they’ve ever been. In Maryland (1,046) and D.C. (112), hospitalization levels are the highest they’ve been since the summer.

Over the past week in D.C., three metrics have entered the red zone which indicates "substantial community spread." On Tuesday, the city reported that the daily case rate was at 19.9 and the rate of transmission was at 1.21, surpassing the daily case rate and transmission rate upper threshold of 15 and 1.2.

Also, on Nov. 12, percent hospitalization utilization surpassed the upper threshold of 90%, putting hospital usage in the red zone. On Tuesday, that metric had fallen to 81.8%, which puts it in the yellow zone. The green-zone threshold is under 80%.

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

Local Coronavirus Headlines

Reopening Tracker

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.
Contact Us