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The number of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia was 28,295 on Wednesday, with 14,788 cases in Maryland, 10,297 in Virginia and 3,210 in the District. The number of virus-related deaths was 705 in Maryland, 353 in Virginia and 127 in the District, for a total of 1,185 fatalities.

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

• The Inova Hospital System in Northern Virginia on Wednesday said it will lay off 427 of its employees during the coming week, a result of the economic impact of the covid-19 crisis. The laid-off employees will not include any doctors, nurses or other “front-line workers."

• The District, Virginia and Maryland on Wednesday reported 87 covid-19 fatalities, raising the regional death toll to 1,185.

• Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday the once-shuttered Laurel Medical Center is now open and will be able to take 135 coronavirus patients, with 35 of them in a new intensive care wing, in an effort to absorb a surge of covid-19 cases in Prince George’s County, Maryland’s hardest hit jurisdiction.

11:35 p.m.
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See The Post’s continuing coverage on the coronavirus in the District, Maryland and Virginia.

9:51 p.m.
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Inova hospitals to lay off 427 workers, citing economic impacts of covid-19 crisis

The Inova Hospital System in Northern Virginia has decided to lay off 427 of its employees during the coming week, a result of the economic impact that the pandemic efforts have had on businesses across the region, including hospitals, an Inova spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“The financial impact of the COVID crisis has hit hospitals and health systems across the country hard and we are not immune to that,” said Jennifer Siciliano, Inova’s chief communications officer.

The laid off employees don’t include any doctors, nurses or other “front-line workers” who are helping to treat covid-19 patients inside Inova hospitals, Siciliano said.

“Every decision will be made toward us being able to provide care to the patients, so no one should be worried about us not having the people there to take care of you,” J. Stephen Jones, president and chief executive at Inova Health System, said in a statement.

9:40 p.m.
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D.C. reports another single-day high in covid-19 deaths; regional death toll rises to 1,185

The District, Virginia and Maryland on Wednesday reported 87 covid-19 fatalities, raising the regional death toll to 1,185.

Maryland reported 46 new covid-19 fatalities, bringing its total to 705. Prince George’s County, which has the most cases and victims in the Washington region, reported 14 of those deaths, the county’s largest single-day increase. Montgomery County reported 10 new fatalities.

Virginia reported 26 new fatalities, bringing the total to 353.

The District on Wednesday reported 15 new fatalities, matching the highest single-day increase, which was seen April 14, and pushing its total death toll to 127.

The new D.C. deaths show racial disparities seen in the nation’s capital and beyond. Ten of the new fatalities are from wards 5, 7 and 8 — the poorest and most heavily African American parts of the city. And 12 of them are black — making the overall death count 80 percent black in a city that is 46 percent black.

The District, Maryland and Virginia reported 1,326 new confirmed covid-19 cases, a rise on-par with single-day increases over the last week, bringing the regional total to nearly 28,295.

9:33 p.m.
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Laurel hospital reopens at Maryland’s epicenter of coronavirus outbreak

In a little over a month, Laurel Medical Center has been remade into a five-floor hospital to absorb a surge of coronavirus patients in Maryland’s hardest-hit county, where Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) said Wednesday that some residents who did not seek treatment have been found dead in their homes.

The majority-black county of 900,000 people has been swamped with the largest share of Maryland’s virus patients and deaths: 3,868 people have been infected as of Wednesday and 152 have died. Alsobrooks said men in particular have been waiting too long to get help and make up a disproportionate share of deaths in Prince George’s. Hospitals here have had to shuttle very sick patients to Baltimore and Washington.

Alsobrooks and Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Wednesday that the once-shuttered and rapidly renovated Laurel hospital is now open and will be able to take 135 coronavirus patients, with 35 of them in a new intensive care wing. It is the second coronavirus hospital the state has opened since the first confirmed case here was discovered in early March, and a key piece of Maryland’s plan to add 6,700 hospitals beds to accommodate a surge in coronavirus patients.

A 250-bed field hospital has already been built in the Baltimore Convention Center to house patients who do not need intensive hospital care but are too sick to recover from the virus at home.

Even though Maryland has yet to reach its peak of infections, Hogan said Wednesday he will announce Friday his plan to begin gradually lifting the social distancing restrictions that have slowed the spread of the virus and brought the economy to a standstill.

Hogan said the state is on track to meet its hospital expansion goals, which coupled with social distancing means Maryland will be unlikely to have patients sitting in hallways or dying while waiting for ventilators, he said.

The hospital capacity is one of four conditions Hogan said must be met to begin implementing his plan to reopen the state’s economy. He also announced Wednesday that the state signed a contract with the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center on Wednesday morning to hire another 750 contact tracing workers, enabling it to handle 1,000 new patients every day.

The army of workers, Hogan said, is designed to be able to identify and potentially isolate newly confirmed patients before they can spread the virus. It was not immediately clear when those workers would be able to start.

The governor also said the state has made progress on a third condition to acquire enough personal protective equipment to handle a surge. Hogan said he could not estimate what percentage of equipment the state still needs to obtain to meet his goal. But he acknowledged a “terrible shortage” nationwide and said that Maryland medical providers were “stretched” with what they currently have.

Although Hogan said the state’s access to supplies is “getting much, much better,” Maryland “still has a long way to go.”

“It’s going out the door almost as fast as it comes in,” he said.

The fourth condition — the availability of widespread testing — is also not in place, despite a shipment of 500,000 tests from South Korea on Saturday. Hogan said a second Korean Air passenger jet arrived with additional supplies Wednesday morning, but he declined to identify the cargo except to say “it will come in handy.”

Even once the four conditions for reopening are met, Hogan said, Maryland’s social distancing measures will remain in place until the state sees 14 straight days of declining hospitalizations, deaths and intensive care unit bed use by coronavirus patients. So far, the state’s numbers are still rising.

7:50 p.m.
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Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., launches telehealth program

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., has launched a new telehealth program allowing patients to ask providers reproductive health questions and manage their prescriptions without leaving their homes.

The program, announced Wednesday, will give patients in the Washington region the option of speaking with providers by phone or through a private and secure video conferencing platform.

Patients can use the telehealth program to ask questions about birth control, urinary tract infection diagnosis and treatments, behavioral health and gender-affirming care, among other primary and reproductive health-care services.

After scheduling a telehealth appointment, patients will receive an email with a link to the virtual visit. Virtual appointments are available seven days a week.

Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., has three health centers in the District and Maryland offering a range of primary and reproductive health care services. Patients visiting the health centers in person must wear a mask and are encouraged to come alone to their appointments.

“We know that our health care services are time-sensitive and essential, which is why we’re doing all we can to meet the needs of our patients through our reproductive health and primary care offerings,” Laura Meyers, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “As we weather this challenging time together, we don’t want anyone to worry about getting birth control, their pregnancy options, or accessing cancer screenings.”

7:22 p.m.
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District launches new transportation service exclusively for hospital workers

The District is launching a new transportation service similar to Uber but exclusively for some hospital workers.

The program allows workers at Howard University Hospital and United Medical Center to use a smartphone app to hail a ride home after completing their night shifts.

The cost per ride is $3, and service runs between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Hospital workers who would like to use the service must download the D.C. Neighborhood Connect app, available on Apple and Android platforms, and enter a ride code that can be provided by their hospital.

The app, powered by the ride-share company Via, directs users to a location where they are picked up by one of 11 vans in the system. To maintain social distancing only three passengers are allowed on each vehicle, officials said.

The service aims to fill a gap in public transportation options after dark. Public transit is almost nonexistent during the evening and overnight hours. Metro and bus systems have significantly scaled back service during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of For-Hire Vehicles said it repurposed the D.C. Neighborhood Connect service to provide the health-care rides. Neighborhood Connect provides rides in zones within Wards 4, 5 and 8, but it was suspended on March 15 in response to the coronavirus.

The new service for health-care workers has expanded the program’s coverage area to allow drivers to take passengers anywhere in the District as well as to places in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

“We are excited about the expansion of this transportation option with Via to serve those who are providing essential medical services and care to District residents,” DFHV Director David Do said in a statement.

The Department of For-Hire Vehicles administers the program in partnership with Via and taxi operator Transco. It will remain in place through the coronavirus pandemic, the DFHV said.

6:29 p.m.
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Prince George’s county executive urges patience as deaths rise

Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) urged residents Wednesday to continue to practice social distancing and seek immediate medical care if they feel sick as the number of deaths continues to increase in the Washington suburb.

“I know this is a lot to ask, but we are still in the thick of it,” Alsobrooks said at a news conference.

She said that as of Wednesday, the county had reported 141 deaths, the most of any jurisdiction in the state, and that the mortality rate among men has been especially high.

Prince George’s Health Officer Ernest Carter said he does not think the county has reached its peak in cases. He said the county health department is working closely with the state to set up medical tents at hospitals that will add 292 beds.

He also said that hospitals are scaling up staffing, which he predicted “will be a constant challenge.”

“So when will we flatten the curve? No one knows for sure,” Carter said, noting that there were some hopeful signs in the slowing of new cases.

Alsobrooks said one of her priorities will be addressing food insecurity in the county, which was a major issue even before mass layoffs and furloughs began. She said that more than 30,000 residents have filed for unemployment since the pandemic started, bringing the total number of unemployed residents in the county of 909,000 to 47,000.

“This is just stunning,” Alsobrooks said, describing residents lining up on Allentown Road to get food from a giveaway hosted by Ebenezer AME Church in Oxon Hill.

The Capital Area Food Bank has developed a 90-day plan to assist the county, officials said, and it’s halfway to its goal of raising $1.3 million. Alsobrooks announced Wednesday that Bank of America, the Washington Redskins, and the Links — a women’s volunteering group of which she is a member — have donated.

She said that when she personally handed out boxes of food recently, it took only 35 minutes to give away 65 boxes.

Alsobrooks said testing will be key to moving toward recovery, noting that she sent a letter to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Wednesday morning requesting that the county receive 90,000 of the testing kits that the state bought from South Korea.

6:10 p.m.
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D.C. officials expand testing criteria to include some people without symptoms

D.C. officials are expanding the criteria for who should get tested for the coronavirus to include those without symptoms but who are likely to have been exposed and are in high-risk groups.

“We’re not in a position at this time where we are asking for all asymptomatic individuals in the community to push into our system and ask to be tested,” D.C. Department of Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said at a Wednesday news conference. But she said officials are focusing on those who are older or have underlying health conditions and who are in households, nursing homes or hospitals where others have tested positive.

The District is adding a testing site at the University of the District of Columbia Community College’s Bertie Backus campus across from the Fort Totten Metro station. The walk-through, drive-through site will be appointment-only and open Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The District also has received about a dozen rapid-testing machines that will be used at homeless shelters, corrections facilities and care centers. The machines, produced by Abbott Laboratories, are used to detect positive cases in minutes. The District expects to have them operating this week.

“The goal is not to replace the other methods of testing,” Bowser said at the news conference. “But it adds another tool that will help in the strategic decision-making around quarantine and isolation at these facilities.”

District officials said they are gearing up for antibody testing to detect people who have already been exposed and have some level of immunity. “We believe right now we will be ready to go by the first of May,” Jenifer Smith, director of the District’s Department of Forensic Sciences, said at the news conference.

5:51 p.m.
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The District has worst per-capita death rate in the Washington metropolitan area

The District reported 15 fatalities Wednesday, matching its highest single-day increase. In all, 127 D.C. residents have succumbed to the virus.

The city has 18.6 deaths per 100,000 residents. In Maryland, the rate is 14.6 in Prince George’s County and 12.1 in Montgomery County. In Virginia’s largest locality, Fairfax County, the death rate is less than 6 per 100,000 residents.

Nearly 80 percent of the D.C. fatalities are black, even though the gentrifying city once known as Chocolate City is now only 46 percent black. Since the District started keeping track of the race of fatalities on April 5, more than 8 in 10 of the dead have been black.

Covid-19 death data also reflects the city’s typical geographic health disparities. Ward 8, the poorest and most heavily African American ward, in Southeast D.C., has the most deaths of any ward, at 29. Wealthy Ward 2, covering Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle, has had one death. In all, wards 5, 7 and 8 — the most disadvantaged and heavily black parts of the city — are home to half of the city’s covid-19 fatalities.

For years, Wards 5, 7 and 8 have been designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration as medically underserved areas, meaning that while a majority of residents have health care coverage, there’s a shortage of primary care health services within that area.

Data collected from CDC and analyzed by The Washington Post shows those same wards have the highest rates of asthma, cholesterol, diabetes and obesity.

The District has also had several deaths at institutions serving the vulnerable — 14 at nursing homes and long-term care facilities, eight supported by the D.C. Department of Disability Services, six at the public psychiatric facility, St. Elizabeths Hospital, and one inmate at the D.C. jail — and eight homeless residents. Some of the dead could fall into multiple categories.

D.C. officials also say 16 of the dead were not hospitalized, a sign that not everyone is seeking medical attention.

Asked Wednesday about the city’s dead, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said she was particularly focused on the vulnerable.

“We are very concerned about our elders in congregant settings, we are very concerned about the people that we support in homes who are developmentally disabled and who live in smaller but still congregant settings, we are very concerned about our hospital and our jail and our homeless service facilities,” said Bowser. “So we continue to think that our vulnerable populations are a huge concern.”

4:44 p.m.
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Virginia lawmakers kick off meeting outside

As the coronavirus outbreak hits the D.C. region, the Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday to finish its business.

The House of Delegates was set to meet under a canopy outside the Capitol, and the Senate convened 2½ miles away in a cavernous room at a science museum.

The legislators came back to Richmond for an unusual session with a focus on the covid-19 pandemic. Their biggest goal is to deal with a scaled-down state budget to manage the huge cost of the disease, and not get infected.

The annual reconvening lets lawmakers take up vetoes or amendments issued by the governor to the 1,291 pieces of legislation passed during the regular session, which adjourned March 12.

As they prepared to meet, cars and trucks bristled with flags that read, “American, Don’t Tread on Me, Trump,” as they circled the streets around Capitol Square. Drivers honked their horns to protest orders of Gov. Ralph Northam (D) that shut down businesses statewide to protect against the coronavirus.

Atop the hill, next to the white Capitol building, the horns made a distant but constant backdrop to faint pop music from the sound system as delegates arrived about an hour before the session was to start at noon.

Some grabbed boxed lunches and sat in the sun on the Capitol steps. Almost all seemed to be wearing masks or cloth face coverings. Hand-sanitizer stations were deployed around the white canopy set up for the meeting.

Delegates were assigned to individual round folding tables and folding chairs, with alternating white and black tablecloths waving in the breeze.

“It’s beautiful out here,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-Fairfax) said as she prepared to kick things off.

Democrats won control of the legislature in last fall’s elections and worked with Northam to enact a mountain of shared priorities. From gun control to LGBT protections and easing abortion restrictions, everything that passed closely matched Northam’s agenda.

Del. Luke E. Torian (D-Prince William), who is a pastor, opened the session with a prayer. “We recognize that we are in the midst of some very difficult days.”

On the Senate side, officials gaveled into session shortly after noon with members seated at individual folding tables, spread across a vast conference room at the Science Museum of Virginia.

The tradition-bound body had swapped its chamber for the glass-and-steel room just northwest of the Capitol. Germ-catching ties were banned, face masks mandated.

“The page button does not work,” Senate Clerk Susan Clarke Schaar noted, prompting chuckles because everyone knew the teenagers who normally run the errands for senators would not be there.

3:56 p.m.
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Virginia state senators challenge stay-at-home order on behalf of gyms

Two Virginia Republican lawmakers are challenging Gov. Ralph Northam (D) in court over his stay-at-home order with a lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of a group of Gold’s Gyms.

Northam’s emergency order of March 31, in effect through June 10, bars fitness clubs and most other businesses from staying open to the public. Violations are a misdemeanor.

State Sens. William M. Stanley Jr. (R-Franklin) and Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) argue that Northam did not have the authority to shutter businesses by executive order and that even if he did, the order does not apply to “private, member-only health clubs” because they never allowed general public access.

According to the lawsuit, filed in Culpeper County Circuit Court, the Gold’s Gym franchises employ 1,100 people and have 56,000 customers.

Owner Merritt Hall said that if the court does not issue an injunction allowing the gyms to reopen, his businesses will not survive the pandemic.

Hall said he has a sanitation and social distancing plan in place and is open to recommendations from state officials on how else to minimize risk.

“The doors of these health clubs should no longer remain shuttered,” Stanley said in a statement. “They … should be a part of the immediate solution as we move forward in overcoming this virus together.”

Stanley also represents the owner of a Roanoke private gym who has been served with a summons for continuing to operate.

Police across the state have reported only a handful of other citations for violation of the executive order, all for public gatherings rather than private businesses.

A judge in southwest Virginia earlier this month rejected a lawsuit arguing the order’s ban on religious gatherings was discriminatory. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

3:09 p.m.
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Virginia hospital system joins federal effort to collect blood plasma from former covid-19 patients to treat others

A hospital system in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia has joined the federal effort to use the blood plasma of people who have recovered from a coronavirus infection to treat other covid-19 patients.

Bon Secours, which has several hospitals in Virginia’s eastern peninsula and the Richmond area, announced it is collecting blood samples from former covid-19 patients that will be sent to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

If the samples are proved to be safe, researchers will extract the plasma and antibodies that developed during the course of the patient’s illness to fight off the virus. A single plasma donation has the potential to help as many as four covid-19 patients recover from the disease more rapidly, the hospital system said in a news release Tuesday.

Bon Secours will collect samples that are taken at American Red Cross locations in the Hampton Roads region and Richmond, and the Blood Connection donation center in Greenville, N.C.

“The key to the success of this program is the donor population,” Justin McGoldrick, chief clinical research and innovation officer at Bon Secours Mercy Health, said in the news release.

Qualified donors are people who had covid-19 but have been symptom-free for at least 28 days, the hospital system said.

11:53 a.m.
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D.C. schools psychologist, former Angolan freedom fighter is system’s first confirmed covid death

Every year, Zoao Makumbi Sr. told his family he planned to retire. And every year, his daughter knew that her father probably wouldn’t retire.

Makumbi had his dream job as a psychologist at an elementary school in Northeast Washington. It was a dream he had achieved in middle age, and his septuagenarian status wasn’t going to cut his career short. The work, he believed, was too important.

Makumbi, 75, died April 16 at Doctors Community Hospital in Prince George’s County, after going to the hospital a few days before, his family said. A spokesman for D.C. Public Schools said he is the system’s first confirmed employee to die of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. He is survived by his wife, five daughters, four stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

Makumbi was a 25-year veteran of the school system and ended his career at Houston Elementary in Ward 7.

“He loved his job so much, I think he would have worked until he was in his eighties and nineties,” said Florie L. Matondo, his eldest daughter. “He loved studying behavior — that’s what he kept telling me. Because human beings, he said, were the most complicated things.”

10:14 a.m.
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When officials may ease restrictions in Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

The District, Maryland and Virginia have been locked down since late March in an effort to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. With the local economy in a tailspin and everyone eager to see life get back to some version of normal, area officials are watching for signs that the covid-19 “curve” is flattening, which they say would allow them to safely ease some restrictions.

Because there hasn’t been widespread testing to determine how much the virus has spread, the tally of known coronavirus cases, up to 26,969 as of Tuesday, isn’t the most telling measurement, local officials say.

Instead, what Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) calls the “roadmap to recovery” looks like this: 14 consecutive days of declines in the number of deaths, new hospitalizations for covid-19 and new intensive care unit patients — a tighter set of benchmarks than those set by the White House, which is focused on declines in known infections.

Where on that map are we? Somewhere in a dark tunnel, still — perhaps with a pinprick of light in the distance. The number of new hospitalizations in the region appeared to be inching down in recent days, while the daily increase of covid-19 fatalities briefly hovered between the mid-60s and low 70s before 102 fatalities were reported Tuesday. Still, area officials say they hope to start to reopen the economy by the time their restrictions on nonessential businesses expire in early- to mid-May and their stay-at-home orders end in early June.