Virginia reported no known coronavirus-related deaths Monday for the first time in more than three months, while the District lost ground in a key metric after identifying a weeks-old spike in cases.
The District, Maryland and Virginia reported 659 new known coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the regional total to more than 146,000 since the start of the pandemic. The daily increase is the smallest number in the three jurisdictions since April 3.
The region recorded five new fatalities Monday, with no daily deaths reported in Virginia for the first time since March 28. It is also the lowest regional number of deaths since that date.
Mondays typically have some of the lowest daily numbers following the weekend, with this Monday also coming after a holiday.
The District on Monday reported 33 new cases and two deaths. In Maryland, 272 new cases and three fatalities were reported. Virginia had 354 new cases.
Several key measures of the virus have been improving in the Washington region, experts say, and the daily average caseload has plateaued after weeks of decline. Officials have cautioned that the gradual lifting of restrictions could increase the rate of transmission as more people interact in public places.
Officials also cautioned that the region could have an increase in cases after celebrations tied to the Fourth of July holiday. The number of new cases on a seven-day average has generally hovered below 1,000 since mid-June.
The District on Monday also announced that it had lost some ground as it measures community spread of the virus after identifying a spike in mid-June. Officials want to see 14 days of declining community spread before lifting more restrictions. City health officials count new cases by the date patients first reported experiencing symptoms — which usually lags behind positive test results.
As of Sunday, the District had measured eight days of declining spread, starting June 12 with about 40 new cases. But the city reset that clock to five days on Monday after identifying another 40 patients or so who developed symptoms about a week later.
Officials are counting the new peak as the start of a two-week decline period. The changes mean the District cannot move to the third phase of recovery until the middle of next week at the earliest.
Northern Virginia has moved to its third phase, raising concerns about whether D.C. residents patronizing reopened businesses in the state could spread the virus in the city. D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said she was relieved that bar areas had not reopened as part of Virginia’s recovery.