D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Monday said she expects a rise in coronavirus cases in the coming weeks, underscoring concerns about holiday travel as leaders across the Washington region lobby the federal government for additional financial relief.
The District reported 371 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its highest total in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The city’s daily case rate per 100,000 people, calculated on a seven-day rolling basis, reached 27 in recent days — a number not seen since May.
While it could be weeks before the region sees the effect of Thanksgiving travel, Bowser on Monday pointed to a nationwide jump in cases that is still being felt in the nation’s capital. She reminded residents to adhere to city travel guidelines, which call on those who visit a “high risk” state to limit activities for 14 days when returning to the city. Residents and visitors can also get tested within three to five days of arriving and self-monitor for symptoms until receiving a negative test result.
[D.C. eases travel restrictions ahead of Thanksgiving while urging caution during holidays]
“We expect that we’re going to have more cases,” Bowser said. “We’re also in a good position to do a lot of testing. We have a very robust testing program, which we feel strongly will help us identify and isolate people who have been infected by covid.”
The seven-day average of new daily infections across the greater Washington region on Monday was 4,662, down slightly from a high of 4,989 recorded on Thanksgiving Day.
The region on Monday recorded 3,920 new cases and 20 deaths. Maryland added 1,923 cases and 16 deaths; Virginia had 1,893 cases and four deaths; and D.C. recorded 104 cases and no additional deaths.
Neil J. Sehgal, an assistant professor of health policy and management at the University of Maryland, said it could be weeks before spikes in cases are seen that stem from Thanksgiving travel. Health experts had long cautioned residents to avoid traveling over the traditionally busy period — and also to avoid in-home gatherings.
“With the public attitude we saw towards travel over Thanksgiving, it’s very hard to think we won’t see an impact,” Sehgal said. “Cases will undoubtedly increase in the D.C. region.”
Maryland health officials said Monday that a child died Sunday of the coronavirus, becoming the pandemic’s youngest victim in the state. Officials didn’t release the child’s age, saying only that the victim was 9 or younger. No other information was available about the child or the nature of the death.
As caseloads continue to jump, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday wrote to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, saying the state’s top priority is another round of stimulus funding to help battle the virus.
[Coronavirus cases and metrics in D.C., Maryland and Virginia]
Hogan, who has advocated for more federal funding since spring, told the transition team that small businesses, as well as state and local governments, need money soon.