DC ‘Back on Track' After Reopening Setback

Here's where the D.C. area stands on the fight against coronavirus

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Memorial Day weekend is usually the start of summer travel season, and warm, partly sunny weather has made plenty of D.C.-area residents eager to have their stay-at-home orders lifted.

Washington, D.C., itself saw a new peak in coronavirus case numbers, putting a targeted reopening date of May 29 in question. D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said the city was set back to 11 days of declines. The target is 14 days.

But, there's good news: Numbers went down again after the new peak, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday on News4 Midday.

"We lost some progress over the weekend," Bowser said. "D.C. Health will get today's numbers out which show we're back on track."

As of noon, D.C. hadn't yet updated their coronavirus data website.

Bowser says that D.C. has on Monday seen 12 days of falling numbers and by Wednesday morning she will be able to announce whether the city has reached that 14-day target.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spoke to News4's Pat Lawson Muse about whether D.C. is on track to reopen on May 29 after hitting a new peak in coronavirus cases.

Reaching that first phase of reopening, a day that many Washingtonians are looking forward to, is tied to continued declines in how fast and frequently coronavirus spreads through the community, Bowser said.

The current stay-at-home order isn't set to expire until June 8, but could be cut short if the city meets metrics set by health officials.

The mayor urged people to practice social distancing -- especially during a holiday weekend.

"We want people to avoid being in places with large groups," she said, urging people not to attend parties or barbecues. Residents should wear masks and stand 6 feet apart from each other whenever they go out, Bowser said.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator, said on Friday that D.C., along with Chicago and Los Angeles, had experienced a long plateau in infections and suffer a high positivity rate.

Bowser in a statement said that the numbers highlight a need for regional cooperation.

"As we assess the immediate needs of our community and plan for the long term, we are very focused on continuing to build a testing program that is accessible, sustainable, and that ensures anyone with possible exposure could easily get to a testing site so that they could be tested, and if necessary, isolated, traced, and treated," LaToya Foster, Communications Director for Mayor Bowser, said in an email.

Northern Virginia Meets Four Reopening Benchmarks

Northern Virginia health officials have announced the region has met four out of six benchmarks for moving into Phase One of reopening as of May 24.

The percentage of positive tests over 14 days is moving downwards, as is the number of hospitalizations. Testing is up and there are more hospital and intensive care beds available, according to a letter from officials in areas including Loudoun County, Alexandria and the Prince William Health District.

Capacity to carry out contact tracing and get a sustainable supply of personal protective equipment to outpatient facilities are impeding back Northern Virginia's reopening plans.

Leaders said that infrastructure is being put into place so that contact tracers can get in touch with people who may have been exposed to coronavirus and warn them to self-quarantine.

Northern Virginia hospitals appear to have adequate supplies of PPE, but long-term care facilities, emergency services and private practices don't have a sustainable supply without the help of the government, leaders say.

Maryland and Virginia outside the D.C. area have already reopened to some extent, but Northern Virginia was granted an exception by the state.

On Friday, Prince George's County officials said they were still on track for a June 1 reopening.

Memorial Day Weekend Draws Crowds to Ocean City, Maryland

Dozens of people flocked to Ocean City, Maryland's, famed boardwalk on Saturday, sparking concerns about whether proper social distance could be maintained.

Crowds Flock to Ocean City Boardwalk, Beach Area on Memorial Day Weekend

While Memorial Day won't be honored with the same public ceremonies we are accustomed to, people are finding a way to honor the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the good of the country.

The U.S. Army Band shared a moving video of a solo trumpeter playing "Taps" at Culpeper National Cemetery.

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