District rates of COVID-19 infection are rising. On Nov. 11, DC Health reported 128 new cases; on Nov. 10, 206 new cases were reported, the highest one-day total since May 20, when the District was under a stay-at-hone order, and three times levels reported in July.
The District reported an average of 15.8 infections per 100,000 residents, elevating the District’s daily case rate to “red” status –an indicator of increased community spread –for the first time since the colored chart was adopted in reporting.
The increase comes as neighboring jurisdictions increase restrictions int he face of increasing local data. On Wednesday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) reduced indoor dining capacity to 25 from 75 percent and recommended a 25-person limit on gatherings. Stricter restrictions were imposed in Baltimore and Maryland County. Maryland’s daily case rate per 100,000 residents recently hit a record high of 14.98.
When initial metrics to move to Phase 2 restrictions at her June 5 press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) said that the District could pull back if three metrics were not met: three days of new cases higher than the day Phase 2 was entered; a positivity rate greater than 20 percent; or the health care capcity at 80 percent or more. On June 22, the day the District entered Phase 2, the District reported 36 new cases.
When new metrics were introduced Sept. 21, Nesbitt said that metrics had changed as knowledge about the virus and response strategies had improved. In the new metrics, a smaller percentage of people have to test positive with COVID-19 before moving on to more relaxed phases (a more difficult metric to meet), while more people could be in hospital in each phase, with the District citing high rates of occupancy even in non-COVID times.
When the chart was announced Sept. 21, DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said that metrics coded in red indicate that particular metric met criteria for Phase 0 or 1.
Data from a single metric would not dictate decisions, she added, and data would be evaluated with other information to inform roll-back decisions. “It works in both directions,” Nesbitt said then. “As we talk about turning our dial up or down, we would monitor to see if these changes in any direction have been sustained.”
The Hill Rag has reached out to both DC Health and Mayor Bowser’s office for comment on the impact of these trends. This story is updating.
Get more details on metrics and data by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov