WMATA to significantly cut service; third death confirmed in Virginia

Northern Virginia’s daily update on COVID-19 and how it’s impacting the region.

coronavirus covid-19 virus
COVID-19, the novel coronavirus (Photo by Viktor Forgacs)

Editor’s Note: For more daily updates on how the coronavirus is impacting Northern Virginia, click here.

There are now nearly 350,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, around the world and 100,165 people have recovered. Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University has been keeping up-to-date information through an interactive map, if you would like to check in every few hours. 

Virginia now has 219 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 32 people hospitalized, three deaths and 3,337 people tested. You can keep up with the commonwealth’s daily updates here. (Virginia Department of Health

Local
WMATA announced on Sunday night that Metro service will be significantly reduced this week, limiting trains to operating every 20 minutes, with the exception of the Red Line, which will still run every 15 minutes. Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery stations will remain closed to try to curb non-essential travel, which includes to see the cherry blossoms. (The Washington Post

Metrobus riders and Alexandria’s DASH riders are now required to enter vehicles through the rear doors and will not have to tap their fare cards. For WMATA, the change starts Tuesday, and is an additional step in attempts to keep public transit workers safe. For DASH, all fares are eliminated for the time being and drivers will be promoting social distancing. On Sunday,  WMATA confirmed a third employee had contracted the virus. (The Washington Post and ALXNow

Local
On March 22, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arlington jumped from 17 to 26. As of Friday afternoon, 173 people had been tested at Arlington’s drive-thru site, which opened on a county-owned property across from Washington-Liberty High School last week. (ARL Now)  

Also in Arlington, a student that attended George Mason University’s Arlington campus has tested positive for the coronavirus. The university was made aware on March 19, and the student had attended classes prior to the university moving online, but not after March 4. (ARL Now)

Local
The Department of Defense announced on March 22 the death of a Crystal City-based contractor who had been hospitalized for the coronavirus. “Our condolences go out to his family, friends and co-workers and we thank the medical professionals who worked to save his life in the face of this virus,” the release said. (Inside NoVA

Local
A second resident of The Kensington Senior Center in Falls Church has tested positive for the coronavirus, officials say. Patients are being monitored for symptoms, and on Thursday, an infection control team was employed to the center after one resident tested positive and another dozen were tested. (Inside NoVA)

Regional
The number of confirmed cases in the DMV rose to 586 on Sunday, with Virginia reporting an additional 89 cases between Friday and Saturday, bringing the commonwealth’s total to 221 as of Sunday. The District of Columbia reported 21 new patients over the weekend, now totaling 120, and Maryland reported an additional 54 cases, bringing the state’s total to 245. (The Washington Post

Regional
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Sunday, March 22, that the District would be closing the National Mall to pedestrian and bicycle traffic between Independence Avenue Southwest and Constitution Avenue Northwest, and 14th Street and 23rd Street. The area includes the Lincoln Memorial, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The roads near the cherry-blossom-lined Tidal Basin will also remain closed. (Inside NoVA

National
On Monday morning, the U.S. Surgeon General warned Americans that the coronavirus spread will ‘get bad’ this week. “We really, really need everyone to stay home,” he said in an interview with the Today Show. “Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. You could be spreading it to someone else, or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay home.” (The Washington Post

More events and large gatherings are being canceled across the region. For specific announcements, please check our events cancellation page.

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