D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) speaks during a news conference last month. On Monday, she urged residents to use caution during Halloween and the holiday season to avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Alex Brandon/AP)

About 190,000 D.C. residents have activated the contact-tracing option on their smartphones since the city joined a new program last week.

The pace of residents joining the program, operated by Apple and Google, places D.C. among a group of cities that have most quickly embraced the technology, said city Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt. It comes as several states nationwide are recording a surge in coronavirus infections, while numbers in the greater Washington region have mostly held steady in recent days.

Nesbitt said in a Monday news conference that the city will begin to include a daily count in its metrics to show how many people are using the smartphone option, called DC Covid Alert Notice (DC CAN).

D.C. health officials unveil new contact-tracing tool

Several of those metrics remain stubbornly bleak, including a daily case rate that has crept higher in October and a percentage of closely related cases that has never come close to a benchmark set for reaching the next phase of reopening.

With those numbers in mind, Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said Monday the city is discouraging residents from door-to-door trick-or-treating or parking lot trunk-or-treats, as well as shopping in person on Black Friday or traveling outside the region for Thanksgiving.

“We’re coming up on some of our most fun times, I know,” she said. “Make sure that what should be a fun holiday gathering doesn’t turn into a tragedy for your family.”

Bowser recommended Halloween candy hunts at home, with candy hidden by parents for their children, and Thanksgiving dinners for one household with other family members joining virtually.

Coronavirus cases hit multiweek lows in D.C. region, but experts fear cold weather could reverse trend

The mayor also expressed concern about federal events that could spread the virus in the city, such as a Rose Garden gathering a month ago suspected of being at the center of a White House outbreak.

“You’ve heard me say this before: Just because you’re invited to a place doesn’t mean you have to go,” she said. “You could be packed in a Rose Garden event with the person sitting next to you hacking. If that happens, are you going to get up and leave in the middle of the president’s remarks? If you’re not, you shouldn’t go.”

D.C. has little control over what events occur on federal property, such as the White House. But Bowser said Monday that she was aware of reports that Trump International Hotel, which is subject to city regulations, planned to host an election night party.

“We will be talking to our licensee, which is the hotel,” she said. D.C. law mandates a 50-person cap on public gatherings.

A hotel spokeswoman said she would not discuss the event, directing inquires to the Trump presidential campaign. The campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The greater Washington region on Monday recorded 1,514 new coronavirus cases and five additional deaths. Virginia added 904 cases and two deaths, Maryland added 565 cases and three deaths, and D.C. added 45 cases and no deaths.

Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

The number of new deaths reported Monday was the lowest in a single day since Sept. 13, which had four fatalities. The declines were led by drops in reported deaths in Virginia, which has a seven-day average of 18 daily deaths but reported only three in the previous two days.

The rolling seven-day average of new infections across the region Monday stood at 1,794 cases, holding mostly steady for more than two weeks.

Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.

Coronavirus news in D.C., Virginia and Maryland

The latest: More than two years into the pandemic, covid cases in the D.C. region are rising again, , while liberal Montgomery County asks who deserves credit for its robust covid response. Meanwhile, Black funeral directors still face a daunting amount of deaths from covid and the omicron wave has had an unequal toll in the DMV.

At-home tests: Here’s how to use at-home covid tests, where to find them and how they differ from PCR tests.

Mapping the spread: Tens of thousands have died in the local region and nationwide cases number in the hundreds of thousands.

Omicron: Remaining covid restrictions in the D.C.-area, plus a breakdown of variant symptoms and mask recommendations.

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