Voters in D.C. and Maryland continue to flood to the polls in record numbers, but not without incident.
A man who refused to wear a face mask at an early voting site in Maryland was arrested Tuesday and faces misdemeanor charges, officials say.
Daniel Swain, 52, was charged with trespassing and failure to comply with a health emergency after an incident in Jarrettsville, about 30 miles northeast of Baltimore.
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Election officials said Swain, of Fallston, and another man refused to wear face masks or vote in a designated area for people who are unable or unwilling to wear masks.
Polling sites are subject to rules set by the Board of Elections and Gov. Larry Hogan. Election judges may choose to have someone removed from a polling place, the sheriff’s office said. Swain was not banned from the polling site and is still able to cast his ballot.
This morning, a polling station at Anacostia Sr. High School and surrounding streets were shut down while the D.C. Police Department investigated a suspicious package on the sidewalk.
As of 9:30 am, the D.C. Board of Elections announced the center would be back up and running for early in-person voting starting at 10 a.m.
Others reported varying wait times at early voting centers in D.C. – anywhere from five minutes to over 90 minutes.
Virginia will allocate an additional $30 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support small businesses, Gov. Ralph Northam announced at a press conference Wednesday.
Northam also addressed rising coronavirus cases in the state.
Cases in the Southwest region in particular have increased over the past two weeks, Virginia data shows. The percent positivity in Southwest Virginia is now just under 8%, over twice the level in other regions, Northam said.
An additional $20 million in funding has been made available for Maryland’s small businesses through an expansion of the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund, Maryland's Department of Labor announced today.
The additional $20 million expands the total Layoff Aversion Fund to $30 million.
The governor previously announced the expansion of financial relief last Thursday. Since then, the Maryland Labor Department has reached out to all 130 small businesses who had submitted an application but did not receive funding due to the initial fund being depleted.
Seven of these priority applicants have now been approved while 20 more remain under review.
The U.S. averaged 71,000 new cases per day over the past week – the most in any seven-day stretch since the onset of the crisis.
Our region has not gone untouched by the new surge. Yesterday, D.C. reported a hospitalization count not seen since late July.
Maryland reported its highest hospitalization count since mid-August. Maryland's seven-day average of new daily infections is currently at 741 cases – that's more than 200 additional cases compared to the beginning of October.
Cases have also grown in Virginia. Virginia's seven-day average on the first of this month was 649 cases. Today, an average of 901 daily cases are being reported.
Virginia's governor is expected to make an announcement today addressing the rise in cases and hospitalizations in the state.
Meanwhile, public health departments across the U.S. are making preparations for the distribution of a coronavirus vaccine ahead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Nov. 1 deadline.
So far, the Department of Health and Human Services has provided $340 million for COVID-19 vaccine and flu planning, but state health officials are asking for billions more to distribute the vaccine.
Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
What the Data Shows
Another 67 cases of COVID-19 were reported in D.C., officials said Wednesday.
In Maryland, another 684 cases of the virus and seven more deaths were announced Wednesday. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 741, the highest it’s been since early August.
Virginia reported 969 cases and 14 additional deaths. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 901, which is about steady compared to what the state has seen over the past two weeks.
Hospitalizations across the region are high. D.C. reported 106 hospitalizations yesterday, the highest count since late July. In Maryland, 501 people are hospitalized Wednesday, the highest count since early August. Virginia reported 746 hospitalizations Tuesday, the highest figure since early September.
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:
- 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.