Coronavirus update: Region sees surge with more than 6,400 known cases

Waiting area chairs are covered in plastic wrap at Union Station on April 3, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The latest

  • There are more than 6,400 known cases of COVID-19 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia as of Saturday morning.
  • In addition to a number of stations that are closed until further notice, WMATA closed three red line stations on Saturday for a deep clean. They were opened after about five hours.
  • The White House met with leaders of the major sports leagues in the U.S. this weekend to discuss when they would be prepared to start or resume their seasons.
  • Union Station is closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. during the pandemic. The nighttime closure started Friday.
  • The White House said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans cover their faces when leaving the home.
  • Metro announced that it is further reducing rail and bus hours starting Monday, April 6, to limit workers’ exposure to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing and shortness of breath. Health officials say that if you have these symptoms, you should call your doctor. Don’t just show up. Medical facilities need to get ready for you. If you don’t have a doctor and you live in D.C. or the nearby Maryland suburbs, D.C.’s mayor recommends calling Mary’s Center at 844-796-2797. If you live in Virginia, call 211.


More than 6,400 known COVID-19 cases in the region

There are more than 6,400 known COVID-19 cases and more than 100 deaths in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

As of Saturday morning, Virginia marked new cases for a total of 2,407 positive cases. There are now 52 coronavirus-related deaths.

Maryland now has a total of 3,125 known cases, with 53 deaths.

D.C. has a total of 902 confirmed cases, with 21 deaths.

Earlier Saturday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced a “statewide moment of prayer and reflection” starting noon Sunday for residents to honor front-line workers, including doctors, nurses and first responders, and those who are patients and those who have died.

“Together, let us give strength and comfort to one another,” Hogan tweeted.

Dr. Fauci: Social distancing ‘our most important tool’

A day after the White House announced new CDC guidelines recommending that people cover their faces when they go outside, Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed that social distancing is still “our most important tool” to combating the spread of the new coronavirus.

“Clearly, it works,” said Fauci at the daily task force briefing Saturday evening. He pointed to data from countries and states who implemented mitigation efforts earlier in the year.

And “as sobering, as difficult it is,” Fauci said efforts to stay home, telework and stay 6 feet apart from others when in public will be “making a difference.”

He recounted his walk down Massachusetts Avenue on Friday night, when he noticed that people were picking up their orders from open restaurants, standing 6 feet apart from each other.

President Trump also continued to tout his interest in experimental drugs that could be used to treat or limit the spread of coronavirus. However, he warned the nation that its toughest weeks are still ahead as the coronavirus outbreak spreads from the coastal cities into the central U.S.


More Coronavirus News


2nd Prince George’s Co. police officer tests positive

A second police officer in Prince George’s County, Maryland, tested positive for COVID-19, the department said Saturday afternoon.

“Our thoughts are with both of our officers who have now tested positive. We wish them both well and have offered them our full support,” said Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski.

Those who may have been in contact with the officer have been informed, and the officer’s work space will undergo a deep cleaning Saturday.

West Virginia takes action in Eastern Panhandle

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Friday that he signed an executive order that affects residents in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

“To stop the spread of COVID-19 we MUST (sic) stay at home,” Justice said in a statement. “I’m going to continue to do everything I can to protect the health and safety of all West Virginians.”

The order limits gatherings to a maximum of five people in the three counties, directs all businesses to put in place work-from-home measures where possible, and directs the West Virginia National Guard to help county agencies, among other directives.

As of Saturday, there are a total of 282 known COVID-19 cases in the state, with two deaths. Berkeley County has the most positive cases, at 49; Jefferson County has 17 cases, and Morgan County has one case.

Read the full story from The Associated Press.

Testing sites around Maryland 

A COVID-19 testing site is in the process of being built at the Pimlico Race Course parking lot in Baltimore, and the Maryland National Guard is helping with construction.

Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced the news of the upcoming drive-thru testing site on Friday.

“The Pimlico Race Course is an accessible location that provides the space and infrastructure needed for a mobile screening site, once additional tests become available,” Young said in a statement.


Elsewhere in the state, a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site will open Tuesday, April 7 at the Columbia Emissions Testing Center, 6340 Woodside Ct. #1071, in Columbia, Maryland. The site is open for appointments from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

To qualify for testing, residents will need to get a referral from their health care provider, and then get directions on how to make an appointment at the test site.

“To effectively track the spread of COVID-19, we must have more testing and the new drive-thru testing at the Columbia VEIP Station is a step in the right direction,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball in a statement Friday. “Ultimately there is a shortage of testing across the country, and we’re working with our state and federal partners to remedy that as quickly as possible.”

Union Station closed at night 

The nighttime closure of D.C.’s Union Station began Friday and will continue each night during the coronavirus pandemic.

From 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night, the station is closed. The U.S. Department of Transportation said in a statement Friday that the closures follow a request from Amtrak.

“This action will have minimal practical effects due to the already limited activity at Union Station during the affected hours,” the department said. “MARC, VRE and Metro service will not be affected. The closure would only prohibit people from entering the station, but does not impede those departing (e.g. if an arriving train is late).”

Photos of the station on Friday showed chairs in the Amtrak waiting area covered in plastic wrap.

PGCPS amends ‘grab and go’ meals process

Prince George’s County Public Schools is tweaking its “grab and go” meals program so that students can pick up more meals in fewer visits.

Starting Monday, April 6, students will get a week’s worth of meals on just two days a week going forward, the school system said in a statement Friday.

“Students can get meals for two days on Mondays, and three days on Wednesdays,” PGCPS said. “There will be no meal service on Monday, April 13 due to spring break. Service will resume Tuesday, April 14 with one meal; three meals will be available on Wednesday, April 15.”

The meals are available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Breakfast, lunch and a snack are available at 43 sites. For a full list of sites, check www.pgcps.org/coronavirus.

5 more DC Fire and EMS members test positive 

There are now a total of 28 members of the D.C. Fire and EMS department who have tested positive for COVID-19, with five additional members who tested positive Friday.

All five of the new patients are home on self-quarantine, said Fire Chief Gregory Dean in a statement.

“The Infection Control Group has already begun working to notify those in the department who may have had some level of contact with any one of the five members,” Dean said.

Metro to further limit bus, rail hours

Metro said that it is limiting rail and bus hours starting Monday, April 6. The move is part of the effort to limit front-line transit workers’ exposure to the public during the COVID-19 crisis.

Starting Monday, Metrorail will close at 9 p.m. every day. New rail service hours will be Monday to Friday from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Metrobus service will also end earlier each day, with the last trips leaving at or before 11 p.m. Buses that enter service at or before 11 p.m. will continue to the end of the route before going out of service.

Read the full story.

CDC recommends covering face when outside

The White House said Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that Americans cover their faces when in public.

President Donald Trump called the guidance “voluntary,” and said he himself won’t wear a mask. “I’m choosing not to do it,” he said.

The latest guidance suggests that Americans use makeshift coverings, such as T-shirts, scarves or bandannas, to cover their noses and mouths. Medical-grade masks, especially N95 masks, are to be reserved for those on the front lines of trying to contain the pandemic.

Read the story from The Associated Press.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams and the CDC shared a way to make a mask without sewing.

Watch a video below:

WTOP’s Dan Friedell and Abigail Constantino contributed to this report. 

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