D.C. reported 105 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest number since early June.
It’s also the first triple-digit jump since Aug. 9.
While 105 is a significant increase from Monday's seven-day average of 40 cases, it does not necessarily represent a trend.
“When monitoring the positive test results, we look for trends over several days," LaToya Foster, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Communications, wrote in statement. "We will continue to monitor this and other metrics in the coming days.”
It’s unclear why the jump occurred, but several factors could be in play.
The news of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus infection, as well as the diagnoses of the first lady, several top aides and two Senators, may have spurred more people in the city to get tested.
Long lines were reported at public testing sites Monday, when D.C. tested about 2,812 people. That is three to four times higher than the number of people tested in the previous two days. However, most individuals’ test results don’t come back for a few days.
Top federal officials’ cases likely aren’t causing the surge because many wouldn’t be counted by D.C. public health officials.
State and city agencies count cases among their own residents, Latoya Foster, communications director of Mayor Muriel Bowser, said on Friday. Furthermore, the White House does its own testing and contact tracing.
Some local officials want more information on the outbreak at the White House, fearing it could spill into D.C., Maryland and Virginia communities.
The National Capital Delegation said it is concerned for residents who work at the White House, including household staff, federal officers and journalists.
The group, including D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and representatives from Maryland and Virginia, issued a statement demanding the White House give more health data, cooperate better with local and state health departments and implement stronger social distancing measures.
A turn toward cooler weather could be part of the problem. Many public health experts, including at the University of Virginia, have warned that a new wave was possible during fall as more people socialize indoors, where it’s easier for the virus to spread from person to person.
We’ll examine data released over the next several days to see if the District is at the beginning of a resurgence.
Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is launching a new fund to help small businesses continue to weather this pandemic.
Starting Tuesday at 4 p.m., business owners can apply to receive a $10,000 grant from the $3 million Business Resiliency Fund. Brick-and-mortar businesses can use to the money for a range of expenses from development to marketing to cleaning products and personal protective equipment.
Virginia's Governor Ralph Northam said he has developed cold-like symptoms about one week after testing positive for the coronavirus. The governor thanked folks across Virginia who have been offering their prayers and well-wishes. His wife Pam Northam is also recovering. The governor says he is able to work with the General Assembly during its special session.
Here's where we stand as the coronavirus continues to change our lives in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
What the Data Shows
In addition to D.C.’s concerningly-high 105 new cases reported Tuesday, the city also has a high level of hospitalizations. A total of 105 District residents with COVID-19 are currently being treated in hospitals.
The District’s seven-day rolling average of new cases spiked to 50 after the big batch of additional cases was reported. Maryland’s average is down slightly to 556 and Virginia’s is up to 718.
Low positivity rates continue to indicate adequate testing. The rates are 1.9% in D.C., 2.95% in Maryland and 4.9% in Virginia.
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
- The White House reached out to the D.C. Department of Health after Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter to President Donald Trump’s chief of staff offering help with contact tracing and containment of the coronavirus.
- More cases of the virus are surfacing on Capitol Hill and some congressional leaders say not enough protections are in place.
- Many elections officials throughout the D.C. region have switched away from polling places at long-term care facilities to protect the senior residents and voters.
- A D.C. restaurant manager spent more than a month in a hospital with COVID-19, but heart problems surfaced after he returned home.
- 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.
- President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and several other members of White House staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.
- A Maryland high school donated the money it raised for prom to an effort to fight COVID-19 when the pandemic forced it to cancel the party.
- D.C. plans to have high school sports return in January.
- D.C. granted permission for six indoor venues to host performances. D.C. also granted permission for the Adams Morgan business improvement district to host outdoor movies.
- A judge sentenced a Maryland man to a year in jail for throwing parties that exceeded capacity restrictions at the beginning of the governor’s coronavirus emergency order.
- D.C. Public Schools buildings are being assessed to determine if they can be COVID-ready for some in-person learning to begin Nov. 9, sources told News4.
- The Fairfax County School Board voted on Tuesday to start hybrid learning next month.
- The Loudoun County school board voted to begin a hybrid learning plan that prioritizes getting younger students back to in-person classes.
- The Smithsonian reopened two more museums to the public Sept. 25.
- Five states were added to D.C.'s list of "high-risk" states Sept. 21. Three other states were removed from the list. An updated list is set to be released on Monday, Oct. 5.
- Maryland child care providers can return to the full teacher-to-child ratios for which they are licensed, state officials said Thursday, and some nursing homes will be able to resume indoor visits.
- Prince George's County will allow tanning salons, banquet halls and other businesses to open with restrictions. It adjusted some other rules on Wednesday, too. Read more.
- 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.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he has 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 have both affirmed that they are not altering plans to hold classes online throughout the first half of the school year.
- Private and parochial schools in Maryland can choose when to reopen after a back-and-forth between county health officials and the governor. Read more.
- 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.