The United States recorded more than 90,000 COVID-19 cases on Thursday, breaking a record set just the day before.
Cases are surging in practically every state.
Halloween is just a day away, and there's more than just ghouls and goblins to be wary of. Some local governments are warning citizens to safe this Halloween by avoiding large gatherings.
Dr. Ernest Carter, the health director for Prince George’s County, is asking residents to resist the urge to let their guard down and gather during the holidays.
"October has been bumpy," Carter said. Weekly new infections in the county have increased from the mid-600s in September to the 700s in October, he said.
The increase in cases prompted County Executive Angela Alsobrooks to announce that Prince George's would remain in phase 2 reopening – even as the rest of the state relaxes restrictions.
While CDC safety precautions should be heeded, there is still plenty of spooky fun to be had. Costume parades, drive-in movies and walking tours are among some lower-risk activities this season.
For more ideas, check out our local guide for socially distanced Halloween celebrations in the D.C. area.
The holiday shopping season is going to be a lot different this year due to the pandemic.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) is urging shoppers to begin as soon as possible. With most people buying online, some things could go out of stock quickly and there may be shipping delays. Many Black Friday deals will be offered throughout November, so there is some time to plan ahead.
Those shopping in person will also need to make adjustments. Protocols like social distancing, adhering to one-way traffic rules and waiting in line to even get inside a store will be the norm.
At least 93 local employees of motor vehicle administration branches in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team. Three of the cases were fatal.
A large concentration of cases, at least 28 of them, occurred at the MVA's Glen Burnie offices.
Employees who spoke with the I-Team say they are concerned by the lack of transparency and worry that the cases indicate a risk to their health and to the health of their customers.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported one death and another 70 cases of COVID-19 Friday. D.C. reported the highest seven-day average of cases (77) in more than four months on Thursday. As of Friday, 102 people are hospitalized with coronavirus in D.C.
In Maryland, another 927 cases of the virus and 10 more deaths were announced. The rolling seven-day average of cases Friday was 803 – the highest number since early August.
Virginia reported 1,167 cases and seven additional deaths Friday. The rolling seven-day average of cases was 935.
Positivity rates across the region are higher than usual, indicating more people being tested for COVID-19 are coming back with a confirmed diagnosis. D.C. reported a positivity rate of 2.6%, Maryland reported 3.71% and Virginia reported 5.4%.
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
- Gov. Ralph Northam addressed rising coronavirus cases in Southwest Virginia at a press conference Wednesday.
- 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.
- Maryland and Virginia released plans Oct. 20 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 for 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.
- 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.