- Maryland has confirmed its third death from the novel coronavirus — a 40-year-old Montgomery County woman who suffered from an underlying condition.
- In Virginia, Fairfax County reported its first coronavirus-related death, Virginia’s third overall as of March 21.
- Gov. Ralph Northam said Virginia is making tests available for more people in key demographics, including health care workers.
- Loudoun County Public Schools reported that two more staffers have tested positive, with others awaiting results.
- A Montgomery County police officer who had limited public interaction has tested positive.
- A limited pilot program for screening has been set up in the parking lot of FedEx Field in Prince George’s County.
- D.C. Public Schools will remain closed and students will participate in distance learning until at least April 27, extending the previously announced closure by a month.
- The Trump administration has decided to push the federal income tax filing date to July 15 from April 15.
State sees its third death, in Fairfax County
Fairfax County has reported Virginia’s third coronavirus death, local health officials said in a statement Saturday evening.
The man, said to be in his 60s, died of respiratory failure. The state’s other two virus-related deaths, two men in their 70s near Williamsburg, also resulted from respiratory failure.
“We are saddened by the first confirmed death of a Fairfax County resident due to COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his loved ones,” said Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu. “The health of our residents is our top priority and we ask that everyone do their part to slow the spread of the virus in our community.”
Three Loudoun County Public School staff members test positive for coronavirus
Two more Loudoun County Public Schools employees have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of school system staff who have tested positive to three, LCPS informed community members in an email Saturday afternoon.
One of the staff members who tested positive is associated with both Liberty and Pinebrook elementary schools. The staff member is currently receiving medical care.
Waxpool Elementary School’s principal self-disclosed that he was the school’s asymptomatic second positive case after Waxpool reported its first positive case on Thursday, March 19.
The Loudoun County Health Department is conducting a contact investigation regarding the Liberty/Pinebrook staff member. Several members of the Waxpool Elementary School community are symptomatic and awaiting test results.
LCHD has said it will provide additional information to the community as results come in and investigations proceed.
In a statement, LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams asked the community to “refrain from speculation and passing on unverified rumors.”
“I encourage LCPS students, parents, and staff members to adhere to CDC preventive measures,” said Williams. “Recognizing that the LCHD presumes that community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring, community members may wish to stay home, even if they feel fine, except for essential trips,” which Williams identified as those to the doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks and gas stations.
Community members who believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus should self-isolate and contact a local healthcare provider for guidance. The Loudoun County Health Department can be reached at 703-737-8300 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Friday for questions.
- Sign up for news alerts from WTOP
- Closings and delays
- Income tax filing deadline moved to July 15
- Hungry? These DC-area restaurants are open for carryout and delivery
- US Attorney for Maryland warns of coronavirus fraudsters
- Traffic and transit changes in DC, Md. and Va. during coronavirus response
- Coronavirus test results in DC, Maryland and Virginia
- Coronavirus FAQ: What you need to know
State relaxes testing requirements for key groups
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam updated his constituents on Saturday morning about how his state is managing the coronavirus outbreak. There are now 152 positive tests in the state, with more than half (77) in the state’s northern region.
Laurie Forlano, of Virginia’s Department of Health, explained that the state, while continuing to limit access to coronavirus tests to only people presenting the most severe symptoms, is relaxing its prerequisites to include people from three key groups.
“As the situation has evolved, we’ve revised our testing criteria,” Forlano said. “We’re prioritizing health care workers and those responders who have had contact or cared for COVID-19 patients. We want to make sure that they are protected so we can ensure the continuity of care.”
In addition, the state is attempting to make more tests available for people in clusters of respiratory illness where flu has been ruled out, and those who are in nursing homes.
Denise Toney, the director of the state’s Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services, said Virginia has the ability to perform testing for over 1,000 patients, and with the addition of private labs and hospitals that are supporting the state, the number is actually higher.
State will pursue standardized testing waiver for 2019-2020 school year
Northam said the state will ask the Federal Department of Education to approve a waiver for mandated standardized tests. In addition, Virginia is working on a plan to “provide relief to students on state-mandated SOL tests.”
Northam said he wants to be sure high school seniors on track to graduate are able to meet their requirements.
Fairfax County schools to announce plans for distance learning next week
Fairfax County Public Schools will plan to reopen to students on April 14. Monday, April 13, is scheduled as a teacher work day.
However, Superintendent Scott Brabrand said during a live broadcast on Facebook on Friday that the “situation continues to evolve day by day.”
Maryland reports 3rd death from COVID-19
A Montgomery County woman in her 40s is the third person to die from coronavirus in Maryland.
The Maryland Department of Health said the victim suffered from underlying medical conditions.
She is the youngest of the seven people to have died from the virus in the D.C. region as of March 21.
UMD student tests positive
A student and a part-time worker at the University of Maryland both tested positive for coronavirus, the university announced Saturday.
The students returned from a school trip to Barcelona, Spain before the university had been informed of their positive test for COVID-19. They are currently at their home away from campus.
Those who came into contact with the part-time worker have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days and pay attention to any possible symptoms that may develop.
In conjunction, the university advised all who are on campus to observe for any possible symptoms as well.
MoCo police officer tests positive
A Montgomery County, Maryland, police officer has tested positive for coronavirus, county officials announced Saturday.
According to a press release, the officer is the first member of the Montgomery County Police Department to test positive for COVID-19.
The county said that the officer had limited interaction with the public but did work in several sections of the police department following an initial investigation.
County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said that “while this case is concerning, it is not surprising as coronavirus knows no bounds.”
“As the number of individuals with COVID-19 increases across the state, we are unfortunately likely to see more cases among our first responders,” said Gayles.
The Department of Health and Human Services is now leading the contact investigation and is working with the police department to alert anyone who may have interacted with the infected officer.
Hogan calls on spring breakers to self-quarantine
Hogan is calling on spring break travelers to self-quarantine for the next 14 days and to avoid people over the age of 60, who are more susceptible to developing serious health complications from the virus.
All Maryland public schools are closed, and the University of Maryland system announced Thursday that students would not return to campus for the rest of the semester.
“Even though students are not returning to campus, this should not in any way be treated as an extension of your spring break,” Hogan said in a statement. “If you ignore this recommendation, you are endangering yourself and the health of others.”
All MVA branches to close
The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration announced all branch locations across the state will close at 4:30 p.m. Friday and remain closed indefinitely.
Earlier this month, MVA locations had canceled all walk-ins, moving to an appointments-only basis. All previously scheduled appointments are now canceled.
As of 7 p.m., 21 new patients test positive for COVID-19, bringing the District’s total to 98.
Those new cases include a 9-year-old female, 11-year-old female and 22-year-old male.
Schools, bars and restaurants to remain closed through most of April
In a news conference Friday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that all public schools, restaurants and bars would remain closed in the District for nearly all of April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, significantly extending closures announced earlier this month.
D.C. Public Schools will remain closed through April 24, according to the mayor, with students set to return to the classroom on April 27 at the earliest. The announcement extends the closure of schools by nearly a month. DCPS was initially set to reopen March 31.
Bowser said she made the decision to extend the school closure in part to see if the strategy of social distancing was actually working to slow the spread of the virus.
“We would not have had enough time to see if those strategies were working” by April 1, Bowser said.
DC records 1st coronavirus death; DC police officer tests positive
The news conference came the same day the District recorded its first coronavirus-related death.
A 59-year-old man who was hospitalized last week with coronavirus symptoms and later tested positive, died, the D.C. Department of Health announced Friday. The health department said he had other underlying medical conditions.
“It is with great sadness that we announce a tragic death and, on behalf of our residents, I share our love and condolences with the patient’s family and friends,” Bowser said in a statement.
The man did not report a history of recent travel but may have had contact with another positive case, according to Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of D.C. Health.
WTOP’s Teta Alim, Kristi King, and Matthew Delaney contributed to this report.