Please Note

The Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.

As of Monday, 101 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the District, Maryland and Virginia. The Washington region’s public schools are closed Monday. Here are some of the most significant and recent developments:

• D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said all restaurants and bars in the nation’s capital must close for on-site service beginning at 10 p.m. Monday. “You may not dine in or visit the bar at those establishments,” said Bowser

• Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced the closure of bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms effective at 5 p.m. Monday to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

• Metro Transit Police closed its District 2 station Monday for cleaning and disinfecting after a patrol officer tested positive, Metro officials said.

• Maryland officials announced Monday that the state has five new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total in the District, Maryland and Virginia to 101.

1:37 a.m.
Link copied

The live blog has closed

For more on today’s news about how the DMV is responding to the pandemic, read here.

12:43 a.m.
Link copied

Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Catholic Diocese of Arlington suspend services

The coronavirus outbreak has forced some religious leaders to rethink the way their congregants worship. For some, this means temporarily closing their doors. (The Washington Post)

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington announced Monday it would suspend worship and church services through May 16, one of the longest institutional closures in the capital region. It will affect about 40,000 parishioners across 88 congregations.

Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde said she made the “difficult” decision because the CDC recommended canceling events attracting more than 50 people for the next eight weeks. For Christians, that includes the holiest week of the year, leading up to Easter.

The Catholic Diocese of Arlington also suspended its services but did not announce when it intended to resume them.

“This virus has taken away the things churches do best, which is to gather people,” Budde said in an interview.

Like many other religious institutions, Episcopal churches have been shifting to online services in the past week — a challenge for some buildings constructed in the colonial era. Budde said she and clergy are working to preserve relationships forged in church during a challenging time.

“Those are the connections that really matter to people: their close friends, the people they’ve been worshiping with for years, those are the connections we want to keep,” Budde said.

The Rev. Timothy Cole, rector of Christ Church Georgetown, was the first known coronavirus patient in the District, and the church has since been linked to several other cases in the Washington region. Cole is thought to have contracted the virus at a February conference of Episcopal leaders in Kentucky.

“I do believe we are going to get through this. This isn’t going to last forever,” Budde said. “But how we get through it now, how we care for each other, how we set an example, how we tend to the social fabric as we attend to this crisis, that’s going to matter more in the end than the virus itself.”

11:46 p.m.
Link copied

U.S. District Court for D.C. suspends jury selection, grand juries, trials

The U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C., suspended all jury selection and trials through May 11 and grand jury proceedings through April 17, pending further order.

Limited operations in criminal, civil and bankruptcy matters will continue to ensure the public’s safety, including newly arrested criminal defendants’ initial appearances and detention hearings, which will proceed by video conference when feasible, the court said in a standing order.

Other proceedings through April 17 will be postponed, except by court order. The court clerk’s office will remain open.

11:41 p.m.
Link copied

DMV officials identify 19 new coronavirus cases Monday

Officials in D.C., Maryland and Virginia announced 19 new cases Monday, bringing the region’s total to 116:

D.C.: 23

Maryland: 41

Virginia: 52

11:05 p.m.
Link copied

In further criticism of Trump, Md. Gov. Hogan says: ‘We can’t wait for federal government’

President Trump’s latest address on the coronavirus struck a more serious tone — but still lacked enough urgency to address the escalating public health crisis, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Monday night during a televised interview on CNN’s “Situation Room.”

“The messaging before about ‘it really wasn’t that big of a deal’ and ‘everything was okay’ and ‘nobody should worry’ — that was the wrong message,” Hogan said of the president. “Today, I think he conveyed a more serious message, though not quite serious enough.”

Hogan, who hours earlier announced some of the strictest social distancing orders in the country, said that states must act now without leadership or action from the federal government. Governors across the country have imposed curfews, shut down businesses, canceled schools and urged people to stay at home in order to slow the inevitable spread of the novel virus.

Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, has urged other state leaders to amass supplies and resources and to activate staff while also shutting down as much public socialization as possible.

“We can’t wait,” he said Monday. “We’re trying to do everything we can for our own citizens.”

In a later interview on “PBS NewsHour,” he added: “Time is not our friend.”

10:54 p.m.
Link copied

Unable to order closures, Arlington County pleads with restaurants, bars to end dine-in service

Without the authority to order its restaurants and bars to close, Arlington County will tonight ask all of them to voluntarily stop dine-in service to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in crowded places.

“We kept thinking the governor was going to do this, but so far he hasn’t,” said Libby Garvey (D), Arlington County Board chair. “So we thought we’d go ahead and make this plea.”

The letter warned that Virginia’s establishments “will be flooded with patrons from DC and Maryland" — where eateries and taverns are closing — "wanting to go out as is usual for St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. And patrons from Arlington wanting to do the same. Almost certainly a number of them will be carrying COVID-19.”

In response, Gov. Ralph Northam’s spokeswoman Alena Yarmosky told The Washington Post: “This is a fluid and very quickly changing situation. The governor will continue to rely on science and the advice of local and state public health experts.”

10:05 p.m.
Link copied

D.C. mayor orders closure of restaurants, bars, movie theaters to slow coronavirus spread

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced March 16 that all District restaurant and bars must stop in-store dining. (Muriel Bowser)

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars in the nation’s capital beginning at 10 p.m. Monday and lasting through the end of the month.

“You may not dine in or visit the bars at those establishments,” Bowser said. “We are only allowing carryout, grab-and-go, pickup or delivery at D.C. bars, restaurants and taverns.”

Bowser said a draft of emergency legislation that the council will consider Tuesday would allow restaurants to deliver closed containers of alcohol (such as wine or champagne) with food orders.

D.C. alcohol regulators said inspectors would be deployed Monday evening to enforce the closure order. They also announced that the March 31 deadline for annual license fees, as well as outstanding fees due at the end of this month, would be pushed back to April 30.

The directive from Bowser (D) follows a similar one hours earlier from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Bowser had previously ordered nightclubs closed and put restrictions on restaurants and taverns.

Health clubs or gyms, health spas, massage establishments and movie theaters have also been ordered to close starting tomorrow, said LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of the D.C. Health Department.

Officials said the city’s threshold for the ban on mass gatherings has been lowered to 50, in accordance with recent guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nesbitt said places such as barbershops and salons in the personal care industry would remain open. Those businesses can take measures like altering schedules to limit the number of people in the business at a certain time, she said.

Christopher Rodriguez, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, said grocery stores will remain open during the public health emergency.

He encouraged residents not to hoard groceries.

“People do not need to panic about not being able to buy toilet paper or paper towels,” he said. “We need to do our part, and we need to make sure that we buy what we need.”

9:43 p.m.
Link copied

D.C. judge gives law enforcement flexibility to limit number of new inmates during pandemic

To reduce the number of people held at the D.C. Jail and the city’s central cell block, D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert E. Morin late Monday signed a Districtwide order giving D.C. police, as well as federal and local prosecutors, discretion to decide whether an arrestee should be detained or instead given a citation and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Local defense attorneys and criminal justice reform advocates have been meeting with judges and other court officials during the past several days trying to determine ways to reduce the number of detainees held in both facilities to protect them from the coronavirus threat.

9:37 p.m.
Link copied

Maryland commuter trains on limited schedule starting Tuesday

Maryland’s three commuter lines will reduce service starting Tuesday because of a sharp and sudden drop in ridership, the Maryland Transit Administration announced Monday.

The MARC will begin following the “R” schedule on Tuesday, operating less than 50 percent of its regular service under a plan normally reserved for severe weather.

The Penn and Brunswick lines will have a few more supplemental trains in addition to the scheduled “R” trains. (The “R” schedules can be found here.)

State transportation officials had said they wanted service to continue as normally as possible.

“If it becomes necessary, we will adjust service based on guidance and recommendations from the Maryland Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Kevin Quinn, chief of the MTA. “We recognize the essential nature of MDOT MTA services, and will do our utmost to get you where you need to go, to keep our vehicles and facilities clean and safe, and to keep you informed of any changes that could affect you.”

9:15 p.m.
Link copied

Infected staff member at Southeast D.C. hospital identified as emergency room doctor

An emergency room doctor at United Medical Center has tested positive for the coronavirus, a senior city official said Monday, the first known infection at the District’s public hospital in Southeast Washington.

A second doctor at the facility, a gastroenterologist whose spouse tested positive for the virus, also began to feel ill and went into quarantine last week, the official said.

The two cases highlight the risk that the virus is now circulating in a medical facility that houses some of the poorest, oldest and sickest patients in the Washington region. In addition to its patient beds, UMC operates a nursing home on one floor of its building — a facility that, until last week, was accessible from the main elevator that serves the hospital’s other areas.

Hospital officials barred outside visitors to the nursing home Friday and placed limits on visitors to all other patients. Only two visitors per patient are allowed during two-hour visiting periods that begin at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. No visitors under 18 are being allowed into the facility.

UMC is Washington’s only full-service hospital east of the Anacostia River, serving predominantly African American neighborhoods whose residents struggle with severe disparities in health-care access, even when a pandemic is not underway. The vast majority of residents in the hospital’s skilled nursing facility are Medicaid patients, many of them coping with chronic conditions.

LaRuby May, chairwoman of the hospital’s board, said Monday that the hospital was mobilizing to protect patients and nursing-home residents and following advice for preventing coronavirus infections issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, she declined to discuss specific steps that were being taken, referring those questions to a hospital spokeswoman.

“All of our patients are important to us, and we’re doing everything that we can,” May said.

UMC spokeswoman Toya Carmichael said the hospital has set up a separate waiting room and isolation area for patients who show up with flu-like symptoms. The hospital has also distributed extra protective equipment to its staff and has ordered more such equipment, Carmichael said. UMC is using an external lab to test for the virus but is in the process of ordering its own test kits, she added.

Hospital officials put out a statement Monday that a staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus but did not disclose other details.

Wayne Turnage, the District's deputy mayor for health and human services and a hospital board member, told The Washington Post that the staff member was an emergency department physician.

The second doctor self-quarantined last week after beginning to feel unwell, Turnage said. The gastroenterologist’s wife had recently tested positive for coronavirus after returning from travel abroad. Turnage said that doctor has been tested and is awaiting results, which could arrive as soon as tomorrow.

8:41 p.m.
Link copied

For some Virginia students, first day of virus-era virtual school means doing — well, nothing

Janna Laachir, 12, woke Monday to find her parents still sleeping.

She yawned and stayed put — the coronavirus outbreak, she knew, closed her school. Bored, hungry and unsure how to cook breakfast, Janna grabbed her brother, 10-year-old Abdorrahman Laachir, and walked seven minutes from her Falls Church home to Bailey’s Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences, one of 18 sites throughout the Fairfax County Public Schools district offering free breakfast and lunches to families during the shutdown.

Plastic bag of food in one hand and her brother’s arm in the other, the sixth-grader paused and swept her eyes left, then right. All she saw was empty parking lots.

“Maybe after this, I’ll do some chores,” Janna said. “I know I could clean my room and also maybe the kitchen — there’s not much else to do.”

She’d grown tired, she said, of watching TikTok videos republished to YouTube, her primary activity over the weekend.

Janna is one of 188,000 students left somewhat adrift by Fairfax County Public Schools, which is so far making no academic demands for the duration of its shutdown, slated to last until April 10. Officials published online educational activities, but the work is neither “required nor graded,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand wrote in a message to families last week. If students choose to, they can watch instructional television programming.

Even if Melanie Torrico, 7, wanted to complete an online lesson, she couldn’t. The Torricos — a family of two parents and three children — have one computer, and it belongs to the oldest sibling, who is 21.

He, Melanie said, is unwilling to share.

“So I don’t really have electronics,” she said Monday as she picked up a free breakfast from Bailey’s with her father, construction worker Jose Torrico. “What I’m going to do today is play with Lulu, my pit bull.”

Yassin Shaban and his family, by contrast, have far too many devices — and he is desperate to tear his four children away from them.

Since school shut down Friday, Shaban’s children — one in high school, one in middle school, one in elementary school and one in kindergarten — have been packed into the house “basically just sitting,” Shaban, 52, said. To avoid infection, the family is allowing trips outside only for essential reasons: for example, when Shaban, whose limo-driving business evaporated because of the virus, needs to go job-hunting.

They also made an exception Monday morning when Shaban and his wife, Abouzeid Ayat, 39, walked to Bailey’s to pick up breakfast.

“I want them to read a book,” Shaban said of his children, as his wife nodded. “Learn something.”

When the couple left the house that morning, the children were grouped around a PlayStation.

Janna knows her brother is enjoying the unexpected, indefinite freedom. He hates school, she said, prompting Abdorrahman to add: “It’s boring!”

She, however, is starting to worry. Janna already knows what she wants to do with her life: college, then medical school, then work as a doctor or nurse. She isn’t sure which.

“Not having school,” Janna said, glancing from the vacant parking lot to the empty building, “would ruin my plans.”

8:22 p.m.
Link copied

Baltimore reports second coronavirus case

Baltimore officials announced Monday that the Maryland Department of Health has identified the second case of covid-19 in the city.

The city did not provide details on how the woman, who is in her 20s, may have been infected, but said the Baltimore City Health Department is investigating.

“Everyone in Baltimore City has to take seriously the need to practice social distancing ...,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young (D) said in a statement. “This virus is not a joke and the quicker we have maximum participation from our residents, the better for everyone.”

8:15 p.m.
Link copied

American University student tests positive for coronavirus

An American University student who lives on campus has tested positive for coronavirus, the university announced Monday.

The student, who returned to the Northwest Washington campus after traveling domestically, contacted the student health center after feeling ill.

A university spokeswoman, who would not provide the student’s gender or age, said the student self-isolated on campus in a place with a separate bathroom. Food and other supplies are being delivered, and on-site medical treatment has been provided.

On Monday afternoon, American officials said the D.C. Department of Health had completed its investigation and determined that no one on campus came into close contact with the student.

The school has moved its classes online, and most staff are teleworking.

8:06 p.m.
Link copied

Va. Supreme Court, Fairfax County suspend certain proceedings

The Virginia Supreme Court suspended all nonessential, non-emergency court proceedings in state courts through April 6, the chief justice announced Monday.

The order applies to a lengthy list of proceedings in circuit and general district courts, including all civil, traffic and criminal matters as well as jury trials, Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons wrote in an order issued Monday afternoon.

The order calls on local court officials to limit attendance at court hearings and possibly bar people from courthouses who have traveled to countries with major outbreaks of covid-19, traveled domestically to coronavirus hotspots, been asked to quarantine, or been diagnosed with covid-19.

Emergency matters such as bail reviews, protective order hearings and emergency child-protection cases will continue.

Judges are allowed to exercise discretion about whether to continue jury trials in which defendants are incarcerated, the chief judge wrote. For jury trials that cannot be continued, judges may dismiss jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill or in a high-risk category for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Fairfax County courts suspended all criminal and civil trials Monday for 30 days.

Fairfax County Circuit Court will only be hearing criminal arraignments, criminal bond motions and criminal and civil emergency motions. Those include quarantine or isolation matters, protective order cases, emergency child custody cases and civil commitments.