Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Oct. 26

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

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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.

This is a “pivotal election” and it’s important to recognize “the massive level of sacrifices that have been made by African Americans for the right to vote.” The first person in line to vote early on Monday at a site in Silver Spring, Maryland, told why he arrived before sunrise.

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.

Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images
Children dressed as the Presidential couple pose in front of US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at a Halloween celebration at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 25, 2020. - Due to Covid-19 the President and First Lady did not hand out actual candy to children, bags of goodies were set up on tables off to the sides of the event that families picked up individually. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Despite a surge in the nation's coronavirus cases, thousands of people came together Sunday on the National Mall - many without face masks. They gathered for a religious service as a form of protest, against COVID-19 restrictions. News4's Darcy Spencer reports from the "Let Us Worship" rally.

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

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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