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The number of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia stood at 17,736 on Tuesday, with 9,487 cases in Maryland, 6,187 in Virginia and 2,062 in the District. The number of virus-related deaths was 303 in Maryland, 155 in Virginia and 68 in the District, for a total of 526 fatalities.

Here are some of the most significant and recent developments as the region responds to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease covid-19:

• The District, Maryland and Virginia on Tuesday reported 61 covid-19 fatalities, the highest single-day increase, bringing the regional death toll to 526.

• Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest elderly care companies in the country, announced to families at its McLean community Tuesday that “several” residents have died from coronavirus infections and that at least 20 more residents and 10 employees have also tested positive.

• Maryland’s highest court has ordered judges throughout the state to try to reduce the number of young people held in juvenile detention facilities to minimize their exposure to the deadly coronavirus. Later, the state’s chief judge directed courts to identify at-risk prison inmates for potential release.

• D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Tuesday that stay-at-home order and social distancing measures put in place to combat covid-19 could result in the number of coronavirus cases peaking earlier than expected.

April 14, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT
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The live blog is closed for the day.

By Jessica Contrera
April 14, 2020 at 7:27 PM EDT
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Maryland’s chief judge directs courts to identify at-risk inmates for potential release in response to covid-19    

By Ann Marimow

Maryland’s highest court Tuesday directed judges throughout the state to identify at-risk prison inmates for potential release because of concerns about the spread of the deadly coronavirus inside state prisons and detention facilities.

“A significant effort is already being undertaken in multiple jurisdictions to address the circumstances of adults who are incarcerated, imprisoned, or ordered to residential treatment programs,” Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera wrote in the six-page order. “The need nevertheless exists to ensure that such efforts continue to be made statewide by the trial courts.”

Barbera, chief of the Maryland Court of Appeals, directed judges to speed up the handling of hearings to consider releasing people detained pending trial, particularly for nonviolent crimes and alleged technical or minor violations of probation.

Under the order, judges must consider whether defendants suffer preexisting conditions that would make them more vulnerable to covid-19, whether they display symptoms of the novel coronavirus and whether the facility is able to handle related medical issues.

In addition to considering the health risk to people who are locked up in Maryland, Barbera’s order says judges must also weigh the “safety of victims and communities in general; with respect for the statutory rights of victims; and with due consideration given to public health concerns related to inmates who may have contracted covid-19.”

The chief judge’s order follows an emergency petition last week from the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland asking the state’s highest court to help speed the release of hundreds or thousands of inmates.

The guidelines come as advocates throughout the country have called for the release of elderly and nonviolent inmates from prison facilities, where correctional officers and inmates are testing positive for the virus in close quarters.

April 14, 2020 at 7:17 PM EDT
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Prince George’s hospitals seeing a ‘dramatic spike’ in patients

By Rachel Chason

Hospitals in Prince George’s County, the Maryland jurisdiction hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, say a sharp uptick in hospitalizations has led them to transfer some patients outside the county for care as officials rapidly try to add beds in Prince George’s.

Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly began sending patients to other hospitals in the University of Maryland Medical System after seeing a “dramatic spike” in patients who needed critical care over the weekend, said Joseph Wright, interim chief executive of University of Maryland Capital Region Health. As of noon Tuesday, 67 covid-19 patients were being treated at the Cheverly facility and 17 were under investigation, he said.

Wright and representatives from the major medical centers and hospitals in Prince George’s updated the county council on their capacity and surge preparations in a virtual meeting Tuesday. They said it is not clear when or if a dramatic spike in cases will happen. But officials said hospitals in the county are already seeing unprecedented numbers of patients in need of critical care, which they expect could continue for five or six weeks.

The majority-black suburb of 900,000 residents had 72 covid-19 deaths and 2,356 confirmed cases as of Tuesday — more than any other county in Maryland or in neighboring Washington, D.C.

April 14, 2020 at 7:14 PM EDT
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Number of D.C. jail inmates serving misdemeanor convictions has dropped 90 percent during pandemic

By Spencer Hsu

The number of people serving sentences for misdemeanor convictions in the D.C. jail has fallen from 94 to 9 during the novel coronavirus outbreak, a D.C. Superior Court judge said Tuesday.

Judge Juliet J. McKenna, chief of the court’s criminal division, disclosed the drop in denying as moot a motion by the D.C. Public Defender Service to release all such inmates for their safety and to combat the spread of the virus.

Of the remaining nine prisoners, McKenna said judges have denied sentence reduction motions for eight “based upon the appropriateness of the original sentence, the danger the defendant poses to the safety of the community, the impact on the victim and all other relevant factors.”

No motion has been filed for the ninth prisoner, McKenna wrote. But she said none would be granted “given the nature of the charges and criminal history of the defendant.”

April 14, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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Loudoun to fly county flags at half-staff every Monday to honor covid-19 victims

By Antonio Olivo

Loudoun County officials held a solemn ceremony Tuesday to commemorate the seven county residents who have died of covid-19. The flag was lowered to half-staff at the county’s public safety center as officials observed a moment of silence.

“I hope that all of us remember there are people behind the numbers that we see in the reports of COVID-19 deaths in Loudoun County,” Phyllis Randall, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a news release. “This is a small gesture that we can offer to let the family, friends and the whole community know that they are not forgotten and that we all recognize the impact of this pandemic.”

After the ceremony, Randall (D) ordered all county flags to be flown at half-staff every Monday from dawn to dusk for an indefinite period of time. As of Tuesday, there were 344 known coronavirus infections in the county, according to the state health department.

April 14, 2020 at 6:37 PM EDT
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Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman starts fund for health-care workers

By Barry Svrluga

On the afternoon of Easter Sunday, a team of health-care professionals working in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital gathered together, faces hidden behind masks. A hospital official asked them to look up at a screen, where she connected them via Zoom to a familiar face.

“Happy Easter, everybody!” said Ryan Zimmerman, seated at home next to his wife, Heather.

The group cheered. Zimmerman explained why they were there.

“You guys are doing so much for the community, and you probably don’t get to hear from outside the hospital very much,” Zimmerman said. “We just wanted to let you know not only how much we appreciate what you’re doing, but everyone in the area appreciates what you’re doing. Going in there every day and putting your lives and your families’ lives at risk to help save other people’s lives is pretty special.”

With that, the Zimmermans made their latest in a series of donations — about 450 meals for the health-care workers and their families — that they hope will grow into a giving-fest throughout the Washington sports community in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, the Nationals first baseman announced he started a fund that will continue to distribute meals and eventually bring needed supplies to the workers at Inova Health’s facilities across northern Virginia.

The Zimmermans’ initial gift: $100,000.

April 14, 2020 at 6:22 PM EDT
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Your anxious journal entries and empty hand sanitizer bottles could become historical artifacts

By Jessica Contrera

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., wants future generations to understand what it was like to live in Washington during the coronavirus pandemic. But rather than wait until the stay-at-home orders are lifted to begin its work, the society is asking the public to start documenting this unprecedented time while it’s still happening.

“While the media and official government repositories document each public step in this crisis, they cannot capture your daily reality. Yet what you are living now, day to day, is the stuff of history,” says the website for the society’s new project, “In Real Time.”

Those who want to participate in the project can answer surveys and submit photographs through the D.C. History Center.

The society is also asking District residents to maintain journals and collect significant items — an empty hand sanitizer from a local distillery, a homemade mask, signs warning about social distance — that can one day tell the story of these times. The artifacts will be considered for collection by the Historical Society when it reopens.

“Important,” the project description reminds, “please do not remove a sign or item if it is currently in use.”

April 14, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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Group home in Maryland decries lack of PPE after man with disabilities dies

By Jessica Contrera and Rebecca Tan

A man with disabilities living in a Maryland group home died Saturday after being hospitalized for covid-19.

He was living in one of 36 homes operated by The Arc Montgomery County, which provides support services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization issued a news release Tuesday announcing the death. The man’s age was not disclosed.

“The individual was transported to the hospital Friday morning, ventilated Friday evening, and passed away Saturday,” the news release said. “We are heartbroken for his family, his roommates, and the staff who supported him.”

The nonprofit group is raising the alarm about the lack of personal protective equipment and available caretakers for individuals with disabilities during the pandemic.

Its residential facilities across Montgomery County have implemented safety measures, including banning visitors and deep cleaning, but it does not have enough gloves, masks, gowns and hand sanitizer, said spokeswoman Deborah Mark.

“What we have is being rationed,” Mark said.

The people working in the group home where the individual died have been equipped with full PPE, she said, but those in other homes have had to re-use certain supplies, such as gowns, or go without. Many of the individuals in the homes have underlying health conditions that may make them more susceptible to the virus.

“We’ve reached out through all the avenues, but unfortunately, we’re kind of in last place,” Mark said. “PPE has to go hospitals, first responders, nursing homes and further down the list are groups homes.”

April 14, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT
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D.C. VA Medical Center death count rises to 10

By Michael Ruane

Two more patients at the VA Medical Center in the District have died of complications from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of virus deaths there to 10, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported Tuesday.

Both patients died Monday. One was in their 70s and the other in their 50s. The department did not provide the patients’ exact ages or genders.

The hospital currently has 25 virus patients and is monitoring 84 virus cases on an outpatient basis. The hospital cares for veterans from the District and parts of Maryland and Virginia.

April 14, 2020 at 4:28 PM EDT
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Additional D.C. police officers test positive for covid-19

By Peter Hermann

Seven additional D.C. police officers have tested positive for the coronavirus, the department said Tuesday. That brings the number of officers who have contracted covid-19 to 58.

Six officers who tested positive have recovered and returned to work.

Police said a total 288 officers are out on quarantine, and 395 who had been out on quarantine have returned to work.

The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department says 65 of its members have contracted covid-19. Fifteen of them have recovered and returned to duty.

Fire officials said the number of members under quarantine is 152. An additional 403 members who had been quarantined have returned to work.

April 14, 2020 at 4:13 PM EDT
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Virginia reports first coronavirus-related death of inmate

By Justin Jouvenal

A 49-year-old at a Virginia correctional center for women has died of covid-19, the first coronavirus-related death of an incarcerated person in the state, officials announced Tuesday.

The woman, who was not identified, was serving a nine-year sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine, delivery of drugs to prison and larceny at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, Va., according to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

The woman was admitted to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center on April 4 and tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a news release. The woman had preexisting health conditions including asthma and hepatitis C and was treated at the hospital until her death Tuesday.

The woman was expected to be released in 2023.

Virginia has 44 inmates and 32 staff members with covid-19 at its correctional centers, according to the Virginia Department of Corrections. There are about 30,000 incarcerated people and 12,000 employees in the state system.

The ACLU and other groups have called for the release of inmates in state prisons and jails around the country to reduce the threat of the coronavirus. A group of Virginia inmates also sued state officials last week, saying authorities were not doing enough to protect them from the virus. They also sought the release of nonviolent offenders.

Some local prosecutors have also moved to reduce jail populations.

April 14, 2020 at 3:47 PM EDT
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Three more deaths at hard-hit Virginia rehab facility

By Laura Vozzella

Three more residents of a hard-hit Richmond-area rehab facility have died of covid-19, bringing the death toll there to 45.

In all, 163 residents and staff have tested positive for the virus at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, home to one of the nation’s largest known outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

The Henrico County facility, which announced the latest deaths Tuesday, serves patients recovering from illness or injury, many of whom are older.

The 190-bed rehab center tested all of its residents and staff two weeks ago, regardless of whether they showed signs of illness. Canterbury reported Tuesday that 35 of its employees have tested positive for the virus, up from 25 last week, when it was still awaiting some results.

The facility, which had about 160 patients at the time of the outbreak, reported last week that only 35 had tested negative. That number had fallen to 32 on Tuesday.

The 83 surviving residents who have tested positive are receiving care at Canterbury or a hospital.

April 14, 2020 at 3:37 PM EDT
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D.C. to widen sidewalks, expand unemployment claims center Friday

By Fenit Nirappil

D.C. city officials are planning to use street barricades to widen sidewalks near grocery stores and other essential businesses.

City Administrator Rashad M. Young told members of the D.C. Council on a Tuesday call that officials would start making the changes Friday in an attempt to help maintain social distancing while people are waiting in line or gathering for essential purposes.

Friday is also when city officials plan to expand the unemployment claims call center with volunteers from city government. Young said training started Tuesday with people expected to start taking claims at the end of the week. Council member Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), who oversees the unemployment agency, is among those who signed up to take calls.

Like other governments around the country, the D.C. government has struggled to handle a surge in unemployment claims amid record layoffs due to covid-19.

Young also told lawmakers the city is over-scheduling appointments at a drive-through testing site at the public hospital United Medical Center campus. Officials have said the site can test as many as 300 a day but not all have been showing up for their appointments.

The site is available to any D.C. resident showing symptoms, as well as first responders and health-care workers who work in the District and are showing symptoms. When it launched, testing was only available to first responders, medical staff and high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

Young said the city continues to need more supplies for testing.

“We are resource constrained in terms of testing,” said Young. “We are awaiting additional test material to come into our possession.”

April 14, 2020 at 3:06 PM EDT
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‘Several’ residents at McLean assisted living facility die of covid-19, with at least 20 more infected

By Antonio Olivo

Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest elderly care companies in the country, announced to families at its Sunrise at McLean community Tuesday that “several” residents have died from coronavirus infections and that at least 20 more residents and 10 employees have also tested positive.

“We are always heartbroken when we lose a member of our family, and today’s health crisis makes this even more difficult,” Thomas Kessler, the company’s vice president of operations and sales, said in a statement sent to families.

At least 142 assisted living communities and nursing homes for the elderly have had at least two people who’ve been infected by the coronavirus, part of a national trend that has included 42 deaths at the Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center outside Richmond.

Last week, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) appointed a “czar” to oversee the state’s response to covid-19 cases in elder-care facilities, noting that the lack of enough protective gear at Canterbury and similar facilities “really ties our hands.”

Sunrise has also reported “the presence of covid-19” at several other locations in the Washington region, including Falls Church, Chevy Chase and Arlington County.

A company spokeswoman declined to provide a specific number of residents who have died from covid-19, or for those who have tested positive. In a statement, Kessler said the company implemented a host of safety measures at its sites, including providing workers with masks and other protective gear, barring nonessential visitors and delivering meals to each resident’s suite instead of communal dining.