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.
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
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- D.C. reported 105 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the highest number since early June.
- 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.