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.

The number of known coronavirus cases in the District, Maryland and Virginia was 36,958 on Monday, with 19,502 cases in Maryland, 13,560 in Virginia and 3,896 in the District. The number of virus-related deaths was 952 in Maryland, 464 in Virginia and 186 in the District, for a total of 1,602 fatalities.

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

• Maryland will soon release data on coronavirus outbreaks at its nursing homes, which account for 40 percent of the state’s total cases. The information will include the names of individual facilities and how many cases and deaths have occurred among residents there.

• A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled Monday the governor exceeded his authority and violated the state constitution’s right to bear arms by forcing an indoor gun range in Lynchburg to close as part of his March order shuttering some nonessential businesses.

• D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is enlisting prominent national figures to aid the city’s coronavirus response, including former first lady Michelle Obama, who has recorded robocalls and radio ads reminding Washingtonians to stay at home and offering information on testing sites.

• The number of coronavirus fatalities climbed to 1,602 on Monday. The number of new deaths announced across the three jurisdictions was 53, which is down from recent days.

April 27, 2020 at 7:30 PM EDT
Link copied
link

The live blog has ended for the day

By Jessica Contrera

Read The Post’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus crisis in the District, Maryland and Virginia here.

April 27, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Following calls for transparency, Maryland says it will release names of nursing homes with known outbreaks

By Rebecca Tan

Maryland will soon release data on coronavirus outbreaks at its nursing homes, which account for 40 percent of the state’s total cases. The information, to be published on the state’s covid-19 website this week, will include the names of individual facilities and how many cases and deaths have occurred among residents there.

“Keeping Marylanders informed and being transparent with the facts continues to be at the heart of our response to covid-19,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said in a statement Monday afternoon.

His remarks come days after the state health department said it would not identify nursing homes with outbreaks. A spokesman for the Department told The Washington Post last Wednesday that “the disclosure of this information serves no public health purpose” and that the identity of nursing homes with outbreaks “falls squarely within the state’s confidentiality provisions.”

At least 255 nursing homes in the District, Maryland and Virginia had novel coronavirus cases as of last week, nearly double the number from April 11. More than 2,000 staff and residents have been infected, but some relatives of patients say they have been largely kept in the dark about the situation inside these facilities. Some told The Post that they had not received updates about their loved ones in more than a week; others said nursing home employees declined to tell them how many at the facility had been infected or died.

The District has identified facilities with known outbreaks in the city, but Virginia has not, citing patient privacy. Other states that have released lists of nursing homes with covid-19 include California, Florida, Georgia and New York. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulates care facilities, said it plans to release a national list of facilities with known outbreaks.

April 27, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Reopening the DMV: We know the road map, but we’re far from meeting the benchmarks

By Antonio Olivo

What Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) calls the “Roadmap to Recovery” looks like this: 14 consecutive days of declines in key indicators, such as the number of new hospitalizations and new ICU patients.

Maryland, Virginia and the District say they also must expand testing, amid a national shortage of testing supplies. And they say they need more people to trace potential contacts of infected patients, more hospital capacity and lots more masks and other protective gear.

Where on the road map are we? Still somewhere in a dark tunnel. Recent case and death numbers have not looked good.

April 27, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Montgomery announces emergency assistance for those not eligible for federal, state programs

By Rebecca Tan

Montgomery County is giving a one-time emergency assistance check of up to $1,450 to low-income families that do not qualify for the federal stimulus check or state benefits.

County Executive Marc Elrich (D) announced Monday that residents with incomes less than 50 percent of the federal poverty level, and who have not received assistance from the federal or state government, will receive a check some time next week from the county’s Assistance Relief Payment program.

Those not eligible for the federal stimulus check include dependent children above the age of 16, dependent adults, and those without Social Security numbers, which includes many undocumented residents.

“[This program] was designed to provide a hand up to people who might not otherwise qualify for other kinds of assistance,” Elrich said. “Covid-19 continues to take a toll on our economy and this program is one way to help stabilize families that are fighting to survive.”

The first recipients of this funding will be the participants in the county’s “Care for Kids” program, which provides health care services to children who do not qualify for state or federal funding. Families with one child will receive $1,000 and an additional $150 for each additional child.

Montgomery lawmakers have also allocated $2.5 million in additional funding to the county’s department of Health and Human Services to distribute to nonprofits supporting low-income individuals.

April 27, 2020 at 4:39 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Large shipment of protective equipment arrives in Virginia

By Laura Vozzella

A large shipment of medical gloves, gowns and N95 masks has arrived in Virginia from Asia, with more on the way.

Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced earlier this month that the state had placed a $27 million order with Northfield Medical Supply for personal protective equipment, which has been in severely short supply.

On Friday, the Northfield, Va.-based logistics company delivered 3 million gloves, 100,000 N95 masks, 500,000 surgical masks and 40,000 isolation gowns. Two more deliveries are expected by the end of this week.

The scarcity of PPE was one reason Northam had ordered doctors to postpone elective surgeries in March — a ban he extended last week until May 1. On Monday, he said he was looking forward to easing that restriction and encouraged Virginians who have been forced to postpone procedures to get in touch with their doctors.

Northam, a pediatrician by training, also encouraged parents of young children to keep up with regular pediatric visits and immunizations.

“We don’t want to see an outbreak of a preventable disease on top of the covid-19,” he said.

April 27, 2020 at 3:58 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Northam raises concerns about covid-19 cases at poultry plants

By Laura Vozzella

Virginia, Maryland and Delaware are seeing a rise in covid-19 cases among poultry-processing workers, prompting the governors of all three states to seek federal help.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed to deploy teams of epidemiologists and contact tracers to help local and state health departments assess the problem and conduct testing, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) announced at his Monday afternoon news briefing. The CDC teams will include staff who speak Haitian Creole, the language spoken by most poultry employees on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Northam said he expected the CDC team to arrive in Virginia sometime later Monday.

Staff for Northam, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) of Maryland and Gov. John Carney (D) of Delaware worked over the weekend to coordinate their request to Washington, Northam said.

“Because the poultry economy is so interconnected, a coordinated approach is critical,” he said.

The CDC released new guidance for meat processing over the weekend after large-scale outbreaks across nation, Northam said. He said plant owners have been cooperating with local health departments, which have been recommending mitigation measures such as screening workers.

Virginia has 10 poultry processing facilities, primarily in the Shenandoah Valley and on the Eastern Shore. Covid-19 cases began rising last week in Accomack County, the rural Eastern Shore community where Northam grew up. He said similar spikes are being seen across the Delmarva Peninsula. He did not specify the number of cases, but said about 3,000 poultry workers are employed at two plants on the Eastern Shore.

The illnesses could threaten meat supplies, Northam said, adding, “The health of the people in these plants also critically important.” He said the workers are “particularly vulnerable” because they live in close quarters in housing provided by the plants.

April 27, 2020 at 3:19 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Judge orders masks to be worn in D.C. courts

By Spencer Hsu

Beginning today, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and the U.S. District Court in Washington are requiring all visitors and encouraging all courthouse staff members to wear masks to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The order, by Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell, is the latest safety measure taken by the federal courthouse in Washington in accordance with public health authorities’ and District officials’ guidance.

The order requires all visitors — including contractors, litigants and the general public — to wear a mask or “face covering for their nose and mouth” continuously during visits to public areas of the courthouse, including courtrooms. Visitors without a mask shall be provided one by the court upon entry or, if none is available, will be asked to make alternative arrangements to avoid entering the building.

Court staff members are being asked to wear coverings in public and nonpublic areas of the courthouse, such as hallways and elevators, unless space allows people to stay six feet apart, Howell’s order said.

The order comes as District, Maryland and Virginia leaders are discussing a possible reopening of the region in stages.

April 27, 2020 at 2:49 PM EDT
Link copied
link

D.C. allocates $25 million to local hospitals in anticipation of covid-19 surge

By Fenit Nirappil

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced Monday how she will allocate $25 million for local hospitals to prepare for a covid-19 medical surge.

The funding was authorized by the D.C. Council as part of emergency relief legislation and is split up based on how many new beds the hospitals are able to provide for an anticipated surge in covid-19 hospitalizations. The grants can be used for staff members, procuring equipment, and building temporary or expanded facilities for coronavirus testing and treatment.

George Washington University Hospital was awarded the largest grant, $5 million. Howard University Hospital and MedStar Washington Hospital Center will each receive more than $4 million. Sibley Memorial Hospital and the public safety net hospital United Medical Center will be given about $3.5 million, while the city awarded nearly $2 million to Children’s National Hospital and $1.2 million to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

BridgePoint facilities in National Harbor and Capitol Hill will receive more $1.1 million, while the Psychiatric Institute of Washington will get almost $250,000.

The hospitals will receive funding Friday. The city will seek federal reimbursement for the grants.

Bowser also said Monday that hospitals are able to staff all 1,000 surge beds currently available, but only 100 of the 2,000 beds at alternate facilities that will be activated in the event of the surge. The city is expected to bring 500 extra beds online at the downtown convention center that can be used as hospital overflow space for mild cases.

The mayor also said the city has 250 ventilators to provide hospitals if they are using all 440 existing ventilators. D.C. is also procuring an additional 93 ventilators for a potential surge.

April 27, 2020 at 2:06 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Antibody testing suggests virus hit D.C. weeks earlier than estimated

By Tara Bahrampour

On March 7, the rector of a Georgetown church became patient zero, the first known coronavirus case in the District, causing a flurry of concern for people who had been in contact with him.

By then, it had been three weeks since Woodley Park resident Kathy Hughes fell ill.

On Feb. 16, a day after returning from a ski trip in northern Italy, the 54-year-old education researcher woke with a fever, chills, headache and exhaustion. When the illness did not go away after a few days, she went to her doctor. Tests for flu and mononucleosis came out negative, but her doctor told her the flu test must have been a false negative.

It didn’t occur to them that it could be the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, Hughes, now recovered from her illness, went to a doctor in Virginia who administered a finger-prick serology test. Within 10 minutes, it came back positive for coronavirus antibodies. If the result was accurate, it would mean the virus was likely present in the District at least three weeks earlier than believed.

April 27, 2020 at 1:32 PM EDT
Link copied
link

More Maryland prison inmates, correctional officers test positive for covid-19

By Dan Morse

The number of covid-19 cases continues to rise inside Maryland state prisons, with 50 inmates and 157 correctional officers having tested positive for the virus, officials said Monday.

The prison system has reported one death: an inmate from the Jessup Correctional Institution, who was in his 60s and had underlying health issues.

Most of the cases, particularly among inmates, are confined to a handful of the state’s prison facilities.

The highest total: Jessup Correctional, with 17 inmates and 22 correctional officers having tested positive, according to state officials. The Dorsey Run Correctional Facility, in Jessup, has had four inmates and 22 correctional officers test positive.

The Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and Classification Center, in Baltimore, has had two inmates and 27 correctional officers test positive.

The Patuxent Institution, in Jessup, has had 13 inmates and 14 correctional officers test positive.

The Maryland Correctional Institution for Women, in Jessup, has had 11 inmates and 22 correctional officers test positive.

April 27, 2020 at 1:13 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Virginia judge rules Northam exceeded authority in closing indoor gun ranges

By Justin Jouvenal

A Virginia Circuit Court judge ruled Monday that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) exceeded his authority and violated the state Constitution’s right to bear arms by forcing an indoor gun range in Lynchburg to close as part of his March order shuttering some nonessential businesses.

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge Patrick Yeatts’s decision to grant a temporary injunction to Safeside Tactical marks the first victory by a business challenging the sweeping closure by Northam in response to the coronavirus pandemic. A gym owner has also challenged the order, which extends to May 8.

Safeside Tactical said at a hearing Friday that it will abide by social distancing guidelines and that it can operate without putting the public at risk. It said it will allow only 10 patrons on the range at once.

David G. Browne, an attorney for Safeside Technical, said at the hearing that Northam had “crippled” the gun rights of thousands of Virginians by deeming indoor shooting ranges nonessential businesses, such as theaters and music venues.

“There is no pandemic exception for the fundamental liberties that the Constitution of Virginia safeguards,” Browne said.

Toby J. Heytens, an attorney representing Northam, said the governor was within his authority to shutter indoor ranges. He said it was a fallacy to argue that gun rights had been infringed upon since the governor has allowed gun shops and outdoor ranges to remain open. He also pointed out that the order is temporary.

“Their argument is that even during a highly contagious, global pandemic, the governor is powerless to order even a temporary closing of any category of lawful business,” Heytens said. “That argument is deeply flawed.”

Safeside Technical has been joined in its suit by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Gun Owners of America and the Association of Virginia Gun Ranges.

Yeatts said he was swayed by the business’s arguments.

“The court cannot agree with such an expansive interpretation of the governor’s authority,” Yeatts wrote in his ruling.

April 27, 2020 at 1:09 PM EDT
Link copied
link

D.C. mayor taps Michelle Obama, former federal homeland security officials to help city’s covid-19 recovery

By Fenit Nirappil

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) is enlisting prominent national figures to aid the city’s coronavirus response, including former first lady Michelle Obama, who has recorded robocalls and radio ads reminding Washingtonians to stay at home and offering information on testing sites.

Bowser said Monday she has also recruited Susan E. Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, and Michael Chertoff, President George W. Bush’s secretary of homeland security, to co-chair an advisory group on reopening the District.

The city plans to release a survey Tuesday and hold a virtual town hall Wednesday for residents to weigh in. The reopening groups must issue recommendations by the week of May 11. The city’s public health emergency and various restrictions are in effect through May 15.

Bowser said the advisory group would offer guidance on how to reopen institutions, but her administration will decide when to do so.

The Reopen D.C. Advisory Group includes 12 committees focused on different aspects of the city’s recovery.

Bowser recruited her political mentor, former mayor Adrian Fenty, to oversee committees related to open space and health-care work forces. The role marks one of Fenty’s few forays into local affairs after losing reelection in 2010 and moving to California.

Celebrity chef José Andrés is co-chairing a restaurant committee, while Democratic strategist Donna Brazile is helping lead a committee focused on racial disparities and vulnerable groups.

“You see that we have national, global and local and I think you recognize that we are dealing with a local, a national and a global pandemic,” Bowser said Monday. “We have called on a great mix of people that embody all of those needs and have all of those experiences.”

D.C. officials say they want to see at least two weeks of declining new cases and hospitals with sufficient equipment and beds to care for covid-19 patients before reopening the city’s economy. But new cases are not yet trending downward.

“We have not begun to see a period of declines, so it continues to be critical that D.C. residents stay at home and practice social distancing,” Bowser said.

LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of D.C. Health, said around 2 percent of the city’s nearly 4,000 confirmed cases involved travel, with about 5 percent involving health-care workers. With contact-tracing reserved for high-priority groups such as health workers and shelter residents, Nesbitt said she could not draw broader conclusions about where people were contracting the virus in the community. But she said household transmissions appear to be on the rise, possibly because people who are ill are still sharing utensils or failing to stay away from others in their homes.

“We do begin to have some concern that some of our transmission is related to household contacts not following some of these isolation and quarantine measures as aggressively as we would like,” said Nesbitt.

As of Monday, 435 individuals were hospitalized with covid-19 in the District, with 124 in intensive care units and 84 on ventilators. That’s an uptick from a week earlier, when 402 were hospitalized, with 120 in intensive care units and 59 on ventilators.

April 27, 2020 at 12:27 PM EDT
Link copied
link

More Fairfax County firefighters test positive

By Justin Jouvenal

A total of 12 Fairfax County firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus, an increase of two since the past week, the department announced Monday.

Six have recovered from covid-19, while two are in quarantine for possible exposure to the virus. The department has not released the condition of any of the sickened firefighters.

The department has been able to maintain full staffing of its operations during the pandemic crisis, it said.

April 27, 2020 at 11:51 AM EDT
Link copied
link

Number of coronavirus cases ticks up in Washington region

By Rachel Chason

The number of coronavirus cases in D.C., Maryland and Virginia stands at 36,958 on Monday, while fatalities climbed to 1,602.

The number of new deaths announced across the three jurisdictions Monday was 53, which is down from recent days.

Maryland on Monday reported 35 new deaths and 906 new cases. The bulk of deaths in Maryland are in the Washington suburbs. Montgomery County has 210 deaths, and Prince George’s County has 198.

The total number of deaths across Maryland stands at 952, according to The Washington Post’s tally, and the number of coronavirus cases in the state is 19,502.

The District on Monday reported seven new deaths, including a 17-year-old boy, and 51 new cases. That brings the number of deaths in the city to 186 and the number of cases to 3,896.

Other reported deaths in the District included two women and a man in their 90s, a 76-year-old man and a 63-year-old man.

Virginia added 565 coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total reported number in the state to 13,560.

The state health department reported 11 additional deaths Monday. There are now 464 deaths across the state, according to The Post’s tally.