Thousands of voters donning masks are lining up to participate in early voting throughout Maryland today. Early voting will continue until the day before Election Day in the state.
As folks gather at voting centers, Maryland's coronavirus data points to rising cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
Maryland reported high numbers of COVID-19 infections on Saturday (796) and yesterday (792). The highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths since late August was recorded on Saturday – 13 lives were lost.
The state’s seven-day average positivity rate has increased to just above 3% since mid-October, after remaining below 2% for most of the first half of the month.
Daily hospitalizations in the state have risen from the low-400s to the mid-400s over the past two weeks. All through September, hospitalizations in Maryland remained in the mid-300 range.
Maryland isn't the only state seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. In more than 40 states, infections have soared by at least 10%.
This is not a normal Halloween, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reminded residents at a news conference Monday. She advised avoiding “high-risk” activities including trick-or-treating, “trunk or treating,” taking candy from a communal bowl, indoor haunted houses, hayrides and bobbing for apples.
Low-risk alternatives include decorating your home, carving pumpkins and competing in online costume contests, the mayor said.
Yesterday, children posed in front of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump at the White House's Halloween celebration. Due to COVID-19 the President and first lady did not hand out candy directly, but goodie bags were offered for pick-up on tables.
Thousands of people came together Sunday on the National Mall – many without face masks – for the "Let Us Worship" rally. They gathered for a religious service as a form of protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
American University announced Monday that in-person classes will be expanded for specific classes in the sciences, visual and performing arts, film and media studies and other areas, during the spring semester. Most classes will continue to be virtual-only.
Additionally, spring break will be canceled and spring classes will start on Jan. 19, one week later than planned, the school wrote in an email to the A.U. community.
Two schools in Virginia are currently experiencing coronavirus outbreaks, according to the Virginia Department of Health's (VDH) new dashboard. The VDH introduced the new "Outbreaks in Educational Settings" dashboard on Friday, Oct. 23.
“Given the changing nature of the pandemic, we felt providing these data at this time poses no risk to public health investigations or to compromising patient anonymity,” said M. Norman Oliver, the Virginia State Health Commissioner.
Meadow View Elementary School in Henry and Rivermont School in Lynchburg are the two schools dealing with outbreaks.
Some elementary school students in Stafford County return to the classroom tomorrow. One cohort of students will attend in-person instruction on Tuesdays and Wednesdays while the second group will be taught in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.
All Stafford elementary aged students will remain in virtual learning on Mondays.
Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
What the Data Shows
Another 45 cases of COVID-19 were reported in D.C., officials said Monday. No additional deaths were announced, for the seventh day in a row. The rolling seven-day average of cases climbed to 60, about where it was in mid-October.
In Maryland, another 565 cases of the virus and three more deaths were announced Monday. Five more people died. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 670, which is higher than it’s been since mid-August.
Virginia reported 759 cases and two additional deaths. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 855, which is about steady compared to what the state has seen over the past two weeks.
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
- Maryland and Virginia released plans on Tuesday 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 to 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.
- Montgomery County could roll back reopening after seeing an increase in infections.
- Five employees of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration tested positive for COVID-19 and one of them has died, officials say.
- The Fauquier County School Board expects 71% of its students back in classrooms as part of a hybrid learning plan starting Nov. 9.
- Child care capacity is expanding in Maryland under phase three, although Montgomery and Prince George's counties opted to remain at current operating levels.
- Gym goers in Arlington, Virginia, will soon take spin classes on an open air training terrace instead of peddling away indoors. Take a look at how it works.
- D.C. updated its list of states subject to travel restrictions because they're considered high risk due to coronavirus. The next updated list is set to be released Monday, Oct. 19.
- D.C. plans to have high school sports return in January.
- 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.