Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Oct. 27

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

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As Washington, D.C., opened early voting centers Tuesday, we again saw how the pandemic is changing election season.

A long line outside Capital One Arena, a super voting center intended to accommodate larger crowds, showed voters who were eager to cast their ballots as soon as possible.

Many of D.C.’s 32 early voting centers reported wait times of fewer than 5 minutes, but several lines stretched over 90 minutes.

When Maryland began in-person early voting on Monday, a record number of voters turned out. More than 161,000 people cast their ballots on Monday, the highest one-day early voting total ever in the state, officials said.

A recent poll in Virginia finds most people in the state feel that curbing the spread of the coronavirus is more important than removing restrictions to get the economy going.

The Hampton University-Associated Press poll finds that more than 60% of Virginians think the biggest priority for the community is preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Close to nine in 10 Democrats favored coronavirus restrictions while about seven in 10 Republicans emphasized reopening the economy.

A Fairfax County Public Schools librarian is going above and beyond by delivering books to dozens of families. It's a labor of love that keeps her connected to students. News4's Molette Green reports.

Many families in our area are waking up to new routines.

Stafford County is bringing back some students Tuesday under a hybrid model. Students will be put into groups that will go to school buildings two days a week.

In Loudoun County, part-time in-person learning also begins for students in Kindergarten, first grade and second grade.

American University is preparing to welcome more students back to campus next semester. Most classes will continue to be virtual, but some in-person classes will expand. 

The university will also increase the number of students who will be allowed to live on campus.

Going to work and living with a COVID-19 patient are both linked to spreading coronavirus infections, data from Alexandria, Virginia, shows.

Alexandria's Health Department interviewed more than 400 people who were recently infected and found that one-fourth of them had been in their workplaces within two weeks of feeling sick.

Over one-third lived with someone who had recently had it.

About 10% had gone to a public event, social gathering or entertainment activity, most of which were indoors.

About 7% of people said they recently traveled outside of the D.C. area or had gone to a restaurant or bar.

LX News speaks with Bread for the World's Heather Taylor about the state of food insecurity and poverty in the U.S., which have been rising as congressional negotiations over another stimulus package continue to drag on without action.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan would like to see students back in the classroom as soon as possible, but teachers in the state have created a list of safety protocols they want to see before returning to school.

The Maryland State Education Association surveyed teachers and says at least 90% supported the following safety measures:

  •        Daily sanitation of school buildings
  •        Access to hand sanitizer
  •        Adequate air ventilation
  •        Procedures for handling positive cases and contact tracing
  •        Personal protective equipment for all students and staff
  •        Reduced class sizes for social distancing
  •        Plexiglass barriers in shared office spaces
  •        Additional mental health staff

The group's president says school districts want uniformity across the state for how to handle and report positive cases.

State Superintendent Karen Salmon is urging Maryland school districts to bring students back to the classroom. Salmon also says the necessary health guidance is available to local school systems and that the state stands ready to work with them.

Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

What the Data Shows

Another 94 cases of COVID-19 were reported in D.C., officials said Tuesday. Two people died from the disease, breaking a one-week streak in which the District didn't report a death from coronavirus.

In Maryland, another 897 cases of the virus and nine more deaths were announced Tuesday. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 714, the highest it’s been since mid-August. 

Virginia reported 912 cases and 19 additional deaths. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 875, 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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