D.C. region records highest coronavirus count in two weeks after recent declines

D.C.’s infection totals apparently won’t include President Trump’s positive diagnosis, as city leaders noted the president has declared his residency in Florida. City health officials said they won’t be involved in White House contact-tracing efforts.

“The White House physician will do their own contact tracing and provide guidance to impacted individuals,” said LaToya Foster, spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. “As has been the practice throughout the pandemic, state health agencies only include its own residents within its case total.”

The Washington region’s jump in cases Friday comes after the area this week recorded its lowest average number of daily infections since mid-July. The seven-day rolling average had fallen to 1,293, down from 1,679 at the start of the two-week decline.

The seven-day average stood at 1,340 cases Friday.

Health experts have applauded the efforts of local leaders and residents in battling the pandemic in recent days, but cautioned that further sustained declines would be difficult until a vaccine is available. Officials have also warned that colder weather could bring additional spread of the virus as people spend more time indoors.

It wasn’t known whether Friday’s numbers amounted to a one-day jump or the start of a rise from recent lows.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who cited the state’s improving metrics Thursday while lifting indoor visitations at some nursing homes, urged Marylanders to continue taking health precautions ahead of the weekend, such as wearing a mask and avoiding crowds.

He and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) posted messages Friday on Twitter wishing Trump a quick recovery. Northam and his wife, Pamela Northam, announced one week earlier that they had tested positive for the coronavirus. Both are isolating in the governor’s mansion.

“Pam and I are sending our best wishes to the President and First Lady, and to the more than 46,000 Americans — and 450 Virginians — also diagnosed with #COVID19 yesterday,” Northam tweeted. “This virus is very real and very serious. Let’s continue to take care of each other by doing the right things.”

In addition to Friday’s rise in caseloads, the greater Washington region recorded 24 new virus-related fatalities, which is on par with the area’s seven-day average. Virginia on Friday had 966 new cases and 22 deaths, Maryland had 712 new cases and one new death, while D.C. had 65 new cases and one death.

Despite Friday’s increase in cases, the seven-day average of new infections in D.C., Virginia and Maryland is still down from more than 2,000 average daily cases two months ago.

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