Metro closes 19 stations indefinitely; Senate reaches deal

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

Photo by Joshua Sukoff

There are now over 435,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, around the world and 111,822 people have recovered. Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University has been keeping up-to-date information through an interactive map.

Virginia now has 290 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 45 people hospitalized, nine deaths and 4,470 people tested. Two residents of Henrico County, have died from the coronavirus as of Tuesday morning. (Inside NoVA). You can keep up with the commonwealth’s daily updates here. (Virginia Department of Health)

Local
WMATA is now moving to close 19 stations indefinitely, starting tomorrow, Thursday, March 26. 

Metro said the closures will help protect staff members from exposure, and it will help the company save disinfectant products that are being used daily to cut down on a possible spread through public transit. 

Arlington Cemetery and Smithsonian will remain closed, and the following stations will close due to the close proximity of other stations within 1 mile: Federal Center SW, Federal Triangle, Mount Vernon Square, Judiciary Square, Archives, Greensboro, Eisenhower Avenue, Virginia Square-GMU and Cleveland Park. 

Due to low ridership recently, the following stations will also be closed: Grosvenor-Strathmore, Cheverly, Clarendon, East Falls Church, College Park, McLean, Morgan Boulevard and Van Dorn Street.

Metro has 91 total stations, and some were spared due to their proximity to hospitals or government centers. There will be no shuttle service during the shu downs. (The Washington Post

Local
Kensington Senior Living Center, where two patients have been confirmed positive for COVID-19, is in urgent need of supplies. Clorox wipes and 500 face masks are needed at the Falls Church facility. N95 respirators are preferred, but the center will take any masks, even homemade ones, at this time. Those donating supplies should call ahead and practice extreme caution when dropping off needed items. (Falls Church News-Press

Local
Virginia ABC Stores are deemed essential during the closures of all non-essential businesses, but all 388 stores will now limit their hours from noon to 7 p.m. seven days a week. According to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, the reduced hours will help keep staff schedules flexible, and offer more time for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. (Inside NoVA

Local
An Arlington County firefighter has tested positive for COVID-19. “The individual is doing well and managing the illness at home, with the full support of family and the department,” county spokesperson Justin Tirelli said in a statement. Local fire departments have continued to adapt to the spread by limiting potential exposure, implementing new personal protection equipment and following CDC guidelines. (Inside NoVA

Local
The Pentagon has increased its health-related lockdown to the second-highest level, closing an additional eight entrances to the building. The announcement was made Monday after a Defense Department contractor died from complications of COVID-19. “The Pentagon is now under health protection measure Charlie, indicating a high morbidity epidemic or contamination. Employees are advised to conduct substantial social distancing, shelter-in-place indoors or use medical countermeasures if directed.” (Federal News Network

Regional
A second midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis has tested positive for COVID-19. Another midshipman had tested positive for the virus, and all direct contacts were notified, and are now in self-quarantine. (The Washington Post

Regional
Despite colleges and universities across the country shutting their doors for the remainder of the semester, Liberty University has brought students back on campus this week following spring break. 

The school’s president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., originally said people were overreacting about the coronavirus and that the campus would open as usual. After Gov. Ralph Northam banned all gatherings of more than 100 people (and later 10 people), Falwell reversed course and said most classes would be conducted online. 

Now, out of the school’s 110,000 student population, Falwell says the school has estimated around 1,000 to 2,000 students are in and around campus. 

Gov. Northam’s spokesperson, Alena Yarmosky, said, “All Virginia colleges and universities have a responsibility to comply with public health directions and protect the safety of their students, faculty and larger communities,” Yarmosky said. “Liberty University is no exception.” (The Washington Post

National
Early in the morning on Wednesday, March 25, Senate leaders and the White House announced that they had reached an agreement on the $2 trillion stimulus bill. “The unprecedented economic rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and provide a $367 billion program for small businesses to keep making payroll while workers are forced to stay home,” according to WTOP. The stock markets have preeminently rallied before the open on Wednesday to jumps unseen since 1933. (WTOP

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

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