WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — The White House Task Force says that Baltimore and the DC metro area continue to be hot spots for coronavirus cases.
In a press briefing Friday afternoon, Dr. Deborah Birx highlighted that the DC metro area, which includes Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland and northern Virginia, as well as Baltimore remain among the countries highest regions for COVID-19 cases. Dr. Birx showed graphics that charted the growth of coronavirus cases across the country.
Although the graphics are promising overall and show decreases in deaths and hospitalizations across the country, Dr. Birx said the DC area remains at a “high plateau” for positive COVID-19 cases.
As other states moved from red to green, which marked the decrease in the number of cases, Maryland stayed at red for weeks before moving to orange and then yellow.
When comparing the number of positive COVID-19 cases over the latest 30-day period, Maryland, DC and Virginia have the largest percentage of cases as well.
“There’s still significant virus circulating here,” Dr. Birx said.
“The number one metro with the highest positivity rate [for coronavirus] is the District of Columbia, which includes Northern Virginia and in Maryland, Montgomery County and [Prince George’s] County. That is followed by Baltimore, Chicago, and Minneapolis,” Birx added. “And so these are the places where we have seen really a stalling or an increase in cases as in Minneapolis.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 22, 2020
Dr. Birx said although the DC Metro area and Baltimore have shut down, they haven’t seen a dramatic decline in hospitalizations, cases or deaths.
She said the CDC is working with this region “to really understand where are these new cases coming from and what do we need to do to prevent them in the future.”
However, state health officials reported Friday that Maryland saw the lowest number of hospitalizations in the state since April 19.
Officials report there are a total of 44,424 coronavirus cases confirmed in the state as of Friday and 2,092 people have died of the virus with another 115 who probably died from the virus.
Throughout the course of the pandemic, 7,634 people were ever hospitalized, with 3,243 released from isolation.
There are 1,329 people currently hospitalized for the virus, with 506 in intensive care, down from 526 people on Thursday. There are 823 people in acute care, the state said.
During Friday’s press conference, President Donald Trump also deemed houses of worship as essential and called upon governors to reopen them.
In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has said houses of worship can operate at 50% capacity and that they can have larger groups if they hold services outside and follow social distancing.
However, some counties like Prince George’s and Montgomery counties as well as Baltimore City and Baltimore County have stricter restrictions with houses of worship.
President Trump is planning on visiting Baltimore Monday with a Memorial Day ceremony at Fort McHenry.