Maryland is poised to enter phase three of reopening Friday at 5 p.m., but Prince George's County will not be among the counties joining in just yet, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in an update Thursday morning.
“What I can tell you about Prince George’s County is we are not there yet,” she said.
Prince George's County has been the hardest-hit in the state, with about 2,900 reported cases per 100,000 people.
Montgomery County is also unlikely to move fully into phase three, according to County Executive Marc Elrich.
"I won't say we're going to move into phase three,” he said Tuesday. “We will continue to likely modify our phase two." Montgomery County will clarify the specifics of its plan by Friday evening.
County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Thursday that Anne Arundel County would also not move into phase three, citing the increase in COVID-19 cases and positivity rate over the past two weeks.
Phase three reopening in Maryland would allow movie theaters and outdoor performance venues to reopen and for retail and religious establishments to increase capacity.
Meanwhile, Towson University in Maryland has switched to remote learning for the rest of the fall semester after 62 students tested positive for COVID-19.
Towson University joins James Madison University in Virginia and other schools that have recently made the switch to virtual learning due to coronavirus outbreaks, just weeks after the school year started.
Last Friday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a directive to extend the renewal period for driver's licenses, learner's permits, and IDs originally expiring in August, September and October by 60 extra days. November expiration dates have also been extended through the end of November.
What the Data Shows
D.C.'s coronavirus metrics continue to do well across the board. Hospitalization utilization remains below 80%; the positivity rate is at 2.5%, far below the 5% goal, and contact-tracing capabilities are more robust than the city's benchmark.
Community spread of the virus, however, continues in an upward trend. A sustained increase of cases in the community demonstrates that the epidemic is not yet under control and still in a period of growth.
Maryland reported 693 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, the largest single-day increase in over two weeks.
While Maryland's positivity rate is still quite low (3.41%), the seven-day average of new cases has seen a slight uptick, continuing its upward trend from Tuesday and Wednesday.
Cases in Virginia continue to rise, with most new cases cropping up outside of the greater Northern Virginia region.
Greater Northern Virginia accounts for 294 average daily cases, about the same as last week. The rest of Virginia now accounts for 719 average daily cases, up 58 from last week.
Virginia's positivity rate has risen from 6.6% to 7.7% over the past two weeks, a concerning trend that indicates a higher percentage of people being tested for COVID-19 are coming back positive.
The map below shows the number of coronavirus cases diagnosed per 1,000 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
- Public tours of the White House, halted nearly six months ago due to the coronavirus outbreak, are set to resume later this month with new health and safety policies in place. Read more.
- People collecting unemployment insurance in the D.C. region soon will begin seeing that extra $300 President Donald Trump promised — some sooner than others. Read more.
- D.C. Public Schools are seeing a 70% drop in vaccinations among students. Here's more information.
- James Madison University will move primarily to online learning after hundreds of students were diagnosed with COVID-19 less than two weeks after students returned to campus. Read more.
- Dozens of inmates at a West Virginia prison have tested positive for the coronavirus, health officials said. Read more.
- Ocean City is postponing plans to re-deck its iconic boardwalk because of a lumber shortage caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Read more.
- Arlington County police have begun enforcing social distancing in the nightlife area of Clarendon. Read more.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that all businesses can reopen when phase three begins on Friday, including movie theaters and concert venues. Go here to see what individual counties plan to do.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said last Thursday that 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 host 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.
- Prince George's County entered full phase two on June 23, allowing the MGM Casino and gyms to reopen.
- 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.
- Maryland entered phase two of reopening on June 10, permitting indoor dining, outdoor pools and outside amusements to reopen.
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