Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Oct. 7

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

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D.C.'s mayor has extended the city's coronavirus state of emergency to last through the end of the year.

The COVID-19 State of Emergency was set to expire this week.

In the updated order, Mayor Muriel Bowser urged businesses to begin developing safety plans to return employees to the office.

D.C.'s health director told members of the D.C. Council that workplaces and social events are major factors in the spread of the virus, each accounting for 22% of new cases in the city. Restaurants account for 19% and travel more than 13% of new cases.

Maryland Child Care

As Maryland moves to increase its capacity at childcare centers under phase three reopening, Montgomery County has opted to remain at the operating levels currently in place, officials announced Tuesday.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced updated guidelines for childcare centers under phase three on Thursday. Those changes allow childcare programs to begin serving up to 20 three- and four-year-old children per room with a ratio of one teacher to 10 students and up to 30 school-age students with a ratio of one teacher to 15 students.

Montgomery County decided not to make the change based on data showing sustained levels of community spread and a continued high level of new cases among children and teens. 

High school sports teams in Maryland will be allowed to begin practicing for the fall season starting Wednesday.

The plan, announced by Gov. Larry Hogan last month, allows for seven weeks of competition for students who play football and soccer or who run cross-country. Athletes will be required to wear face coverings.

Montgomery County says it will continue virtual athletics until there is a safe plan to reintroduce extracurricular activities.

Also in Montgomery County, a small coronavirus cluster has surfaced within local soccer leagues. There are at least four confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to soccer leagues in the area.

In Virginia, the Fairfax County Public Schools practical nursing program at the Plum Center is returning to in-person learning Wednesday. It is one of the first small groups of students to return to the classroom in the county.

The Fairfax County Health Department is currently working with the Virginia Department of Health to develop plans to order, distribute and administer a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available, officials said in a press release Wednesday.

In Washington, D.C., White House staff and U.S. Secret Service agents have continued to show up for work in what is now a coronavirus hot spot, with more than a dozen known cases this week.

Many staffers are reportedly fearful of exposure to the coronavirus, and upset with the lack of transparency regarding President Donald Trump's diagnosis.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the White House was "taking every precaution necessary" to protect the first family and all staff members, consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

President Trump tweets we must "learn to live with COVID" as White House infections continue to grow and top military leaders go into quarantine.

On Monday there was a surprising spike in the number of new D.C. residents who received a coronavirus test. As of Tuesday, the numbers appear to be reverting back to normal levels. 

A total of 896 new DC residents were tested yesterday, down from 2,812 on Monday. 

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

What the Data Shows

Low single-day increases in coronavirus cases were reported across the region Wednesday. D.C. reported 45 new cases, Maryland reported 460 and Virginia had 475. 

One life was lost to COVID-19 in the District, while six were lost in Maryland and 11 were lost in Virginia. 

Hospitalizations are also up in the region. There are 641 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Virginia and 391 in Maryland, the highest counts in recent weeks. D.C.’s hospitalization count is also relatively high at 103.

Low positivity rates continue to indicate adequate testing. The rates are 1.8% in D.C., 2.9% in Maryland and 4.8% 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

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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