Washington, D.C., counted more new coronavirus infections on Saturday than on any other day since the pandemic began.
The number of new infections was 371. The District only once before diagnosed more than 300 new cases in a single day, on May 1.
A large number of tests reported likely played a role. Deputy Mayor John J. Falcicchio said the sky-high number of cases were found among a record-breaking number of tests reported, 12,889.
The positivity rate in D.C. fell from 5.4% on Friday to 3.5% on Saturday, indicating that testing increases are helping officials pinpoint where the virus is surging.
During the last week, more than 30,000 people in D.C., Maryland and Virginia have tested positive for COVID-19 and 281 have died from the virus. That includes 45 deaths between Friday and Saturday.
Concerns over virus spread at Thanksgiving travel and gatherings have prompted localities to step up testing.
Many sites were closed or operating at reduced hours for the holiday but are getting back up and running.
It’s too early to see what impact travel and holiday gatherings will have on cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The holiday may also impact the number of tests given to patients or volume of tests processed by labs.
What the Data Shows
The data shows our region-wide surge continues and data points are not headed in the right direction.
D.C., Maryland and Virginia counted 4,498 new coronavirus infections on Saturday.
Before November, the region hadn’t counted more than 4,000 infections in a single day. Now, Saturday is the ninth time infections exceeded that number.
Hospitalizations are up across the board, as well.
D.C. and Virginia drove up the region’s number of infections, with 371 and 2,537 new cases, respectively.
D.C.’s daily case rate of 23 per 100,000 population is in the red zone, indicating substantial community spread.
The mean test turnaround time is also getting longer, now reaching 4 days. That puts it in the red zone.
D.C.’s positivity rate is 3.6%, in the yellow zone.
It’s a good sign that percent hospital utilization has come down over the last week, hitting 76.2% and re-entering the green zone.
Virginia’s seven-day average of new cases has grown to 2,059, compared to 901 a month ago.
Every region is reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases. The positivity rate is currently 7.3%.
Maryland added 1,590 infections, the lowest number since Nov. 11. However, it’s unclear if the Thanksgiving holiday reduced the number of tests.
Maryland’s positivity rate is now at 6.38%. Testing volume over the past day was 27,708.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Fairfax County health officials released a list of holiday coronavirus guidelines on, breaking up activities into varying risk categories.
- Some Fairfax County students have returned to all-virtual learning amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
- A total of 51,510 coronavirus tests were administered in Maryland last Friday, the highest-ever on a single day.
- The Smithsonian is shutting down its museums and the National Zoo once again due to recent spikes in COVID-19 cases.
- A program that provided extended unemployment benefits to out-of-work Virginians ended earlier this month.
- COVID-19 numbers continue to paint a dire picture for Black Americans, and there is an ongoing effort in the Black community to increase testing.
- The Metro board voted to close a budget gap by changing how often trains run.
- Officials have reversed a decision to cancel the annual Wreaths Across America event at Arlington National Cemetery. The event, held in December, will happen after all.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced how the state will allocate about $70 million in federal aid as the state braces for months of rising coronavirus cases.
- Maryland released a new contact tracing app, and has reduced 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.
- 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.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo closed because of rising COVID-19 cases, officials announced.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- Courts throughout Maryland partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Virginia announced new measures to fight COVID-19 as cases of the virus have spiked across the country.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
- Montgomery County 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.
- D.C.'s mayor extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.
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.