Good news, college football fans: Big Ten games are coming back next month.
The University of Maryland and its mates in the conference will resume games Oct. 23-24 — an effort that will require “stringent medical protocols," the Big Ten Conference says.
The COVID-19 prevention measures are set to include daily antigen testing, enhanced cardiac screenings and designating a Chief Infection Officer for each team.
If players do test positive, they’ll have to sit out for 21 days. And if a team’s positivity rate gets too high, they could have to alter or cancel practices.
The Big Ten says the intensive measures won’t just help get football season back on track. They will also allow universities to study the impacts of coronavirus on student-athletes.
It’s not just sports that are gearing up for a return.
The Kennedy Center announced its first in-person performance since March is scheduled. Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams are set to perform to an intimate audience of 40 people on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Montgomery County, Maryland, is looking at extending the hours places can serve alcohol from 10 p.m. until midnight.
The county announced it hopes to loosen those restrictions within a week. Restaurants and bars can soon apply for a permit that’ll let them serve alcohol until midnight with safety measures in place, like designating people to monitor social distancing.
Montgomery County also is going to allow some outdoor music performances. Venues must submit social distancing plans to the local government ahead of time and follow capacity limits.
The county’s emergency services director Earl Stoddart also gave a preview of what to expect for the next big holiday, Halloween.
He said the county is working on guidelines that will consider the current situation in Montgomery County, but acknowledges trick-or-treating is not a government- or business-driven event.
“We are still a good six weeks away from that and it’s really difficult to know exactly what Montgomery County is going to look like,” Stoddart said.
What the Data Shows
Virginia has brought down its positivity rate to 6.9%, an indication its testing situation is getting more robust.
The positivity rate is 2.3% in D.C. and 3.44% in Maryland.
D.C. had a setback in the percent of cases derived from quarantine contacts. The city wants 60% of new cases to come from people already identified for quarantine. But that number fell from 10% on Sept. 1 to 3.9% on Sept. 16.
The moving average in D.C. has grown to 51, the highest number in two weeks.
The seven-day average is at 616 in Maryland and 925 in Virginia.
In Montgomery County, health officer Travis Gayles said during a press conference that there was a spike in positive cases after Labor Day weekend, however, an incline in hospitalizations has not followed. Currently, there’s a higher percentage of people under 30 getting sick.
Gayles said the county is keeping an eye on the numbers and said the county will continue working to slow the spread until new coronavirus infections decline significantly.
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
- Seven popular nightlife spots near D.C.’s U Street Corridor will be shuttered next month. Read more.
- The Smithsonian is set to reopen four more museums to the public beginning this Friday.
- The University of Maryland began transitioning to in-person lessons on Monday after the school reported a low campus positivity rate of 0.7%.
- Some D.C. Public Schools students could be back in the classroom as early as this month, the mayor said. Read more.
- Up to 25,000 low-income students and families in D.C. are set to be provided free internet connections under a new initiative from Mayor Muriel Bowser. Here's what to know.
- What can sewage tell us about COVID-19 in our communities? Stafford County, Virginia, provides an example.
- Washington, D.C., has released an updated list of states that are considered “high risk” during the coronavirus pandemic and subject to travel restrictions. Here's the list.
- 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 on 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 on June 22, allowing indoor dining, gyms, libraries and houses of worship to reopen with restrictions.
- Montgomery County entered phase two on 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.
Sophia Barnes, Andrea Swalec and Anisa Holmes contributed to this report
Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US
These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.
The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.
Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Credit: Visuals by Amy O’Kruk/NBC, data analysis by Ron Campbell/NBC