The group will be led by Susan E. Rice, who served as national security adviser under President Barack Obama, and Michael Chertoff, who served as Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush.
“We are dealing with a local, a national and a global pandemic,” Bowser said. “We have called on a great mix of people that embody all of those needs and have all of those experiences.”
The District on Monday reported seven new deaths, including that of a 17-year-old boy. Bowser said officials are waiting to get more information about the youth but believe he died outside the city. The fatalities also included three residents in their 90s.
The per capita covid-19 death rate in the nation’s capital is the highest in the region: 27.2 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to a Washington Post tally. Prince George’s County, a majority-black jurisdiction that has been especially hard hit, had 21.8 deaths per 100,000 residents Monday, compared with 20.2 in Montgomery County, 8.8 in Fairfax County and 11.5 in Alexandria.
The total number of deaths across the District, Maryland and Virginia as of Monday afternoon was 1,602, and the total number of cases was 36,958, with 1,522 new cases reported since Sunday.
The per capita death rate in the three jurisdictions — in Maryland it is 15.8 per 100,000 residents and in Virginia it is 5.4 — is still dramatically lower than in states that have become hot spots for the virus, according to data from The Post and Johns Hopkins University. The states with the highest per capita death rates per 100,000 are New York with 115, New Jersey with 68 and Connecticut with 54.
Officials in Maryland, the District and Virginia say they have not yet seen the downward trend in new cases or hospitalization rates that would allow them to ease the broad economic and societal shutdown, although the rates of increase have slowed.
They are warning residents that it is important for them to stay home and continue practicing social distancing.
D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said she cannot draw conclusions about where people are contracting the virus because contact tracing is still reserved for high-priority groups, such as health-care workers and residents of homeless shelters. She said household transmissions appear to be a problem.
Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), said the administration is not surprised by the increased number of infections reported daily, because the state has ramped up testing. He also said the state expects its death numbers to increase because the tally lags behind infections by about two weeks.
On Monday, Hogan directed the Health Department to publish data related to cases at individual nursing homes, after calls for transparency from families who said they were not told about cases at their loved ones’ facilities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has ordered nursing homes to report information on outbreaks to patients and their families and to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as the number of cases and deaths has spiked at facilities across the country. The CDC has said it would report the data publicly.
About 40 percent of Maryland’s deaths are connected to nursing homes, Ricci said. The Maryland county with the highest per capita covid-19 fatality rate is Carroll County, where at least 24 at Pleasant View Nursing Home have died. In Virginia’s Henrico County, where 40 people at Canterbury Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center have died, the fatality rate is 27.3 per 100,000 residents.
Ricci said Maryland is seeing a decline in the rate of positive tests as it tests a larger number of people. But according to data provided by the state and analyzed by The Post, the rate of positive tests in Maryland has been hovering around 18 or 19 percent for the past two weeks.
The state is opening testing sites at two additional vehicle inspection facilities, in Owings Mills and Prince Frederick, adding to sites already open at inspection facilities in White Oak, Columbia, Waldorf, Glen Burnie and Bel Air. Patients must be Maryland residents and have an order from a doctor.
Bowser named a broad range of community figures to the committees advising her how to reopen the District, including some of her longtime political allies and supporters.
A committee focused on real estate and construction, for example, is co-chaired by developer and Bowser donor Buwa Binitie; members include lobbyist Rob Hawkins, who is Bowser’s former deputy chief of staff, and Chico Horton, a real estate lawyer who chaired a political action committee for the mayor before she disbanded it. Thorn Pozen, a lobbyist who was an attorney for the PAC, is on a committee focused on transportation issues. Marvin Bowser, the mayor’s brother, who is active in the arts, serves on a committee focused on entertainment and culture.
Democratic operative Donna Brazile is helping lead a committee focused on racial disparities and vulnerable groups. Bowser’s political mentor, former mayor Adrian Fenty, who has mostly stayed out of D.C. affairs since losing reelection in 2010 and moving to California, will oversee committees related to open space and health-care work forces.
On Wednesday night, the city will hold a virtual town hall on reopening. The advisory group, which also includes health officials on every committee and guidance from Johns Hopkins University’s public health program, will issue recommendations by the week of May 11, officials said.
Bowser also announced Monday how she would allocate $25 million authorized by the D.C. Council to local hospitals to prepare for a possible influx of covid-19 patients.
George Washington University Hospital gets the biggest grant, at $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 get about $3.5 million each. The city awarded nearly $2 million to Children’s National Hospital and lesser amounts to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, BridgePoint facilities in National Harbor and Capitol Hill, and the Psychiatric Institute of Washington.
The funding, which hospitals will receive Friday, was part of emergency relief legislation and is split up based on how many new beds the hospitals can provide for a surge in covid-19 hospitalizations. The grants can be used for paying staff, procuring equipment, and building temporary or expanded facilities for coronavirus testing and treatment.
Also Monday, officials said the number of Maryland prison inmates testing positive for the coronavirus had grown to 50, and the number of correctional officers confirmed to have the virus had risen to 157.
The prison system has reported one death: an inmate from the Jessup Correctional Institution who was in his 60s and had underlying health issues.
Jessup Correctional reports the highest infection total of any facility in the state, with 17 inmates and 22 correctional officers having tested positive, according to state officials.
In Virginia, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department said 12 firefighters have tested positive for the coronavirus, up two since last week. Six of the firefighters have recovered, and two are in quarantine for possible exposure to the virus.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the CDC is deploying teams of epidemiologists and contract tracers to the Delmarva Peninsula in response to an increase in covid-19 cases among poultry-processing workers.
The teams will include staffers who speak Haitian Creole, the language spoken by most poultry employees on the Delmarva Peninsula, Northam said. He said the request for help from the federal government was made in conjunction with Hogan and Gov. John Carney (D) of Delaware.
“Because the poultry economy is so interconnected, a coordinated approach is critical,” Northam said.
The CDC released new guidance for meat processing over the weekend after large-scale outbreaks across the 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 that “the health of the people in these plants is also critically important.”
He said the workers are “particularly vulnerable” because they live in close quarters in housing provided by the plants.
Justin Jouvenal, Dan Morse and Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.