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Birx: 'Still significant virus' circulating in DC metro area

Dr. Deborah Birx says the D.C. metro area has the highest rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive in the nation – a troubling sign as parts begin to reopen.

WASHINGTON — By at least one metric, the D.C. metro area remains the nation’s most concerning coronavirus hot spot, according to Dr. Deborah Birx.

Birx, the White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator, said during a press briefing Friday that Maryland, D.C. and Virginia lag behind the rest of the country for progress on the percent of COVID-19 tests coming back positive.

According to Birx, 42 out of 50 states are now reporting less than 10% of results as positive. D.C., Maryland and Virginia are still above that mark.

“And so, there is still significant virus circulating here,” Birx said.

The DMV is followed by Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota.

“The number one metro with the highest positivity rate is the District of Columbia, which includes Northern Virginia and Montgomery and [Prince George’s] county,” Birx said. “That is followed by Baltimore, Chicago and Minneapolis. So, these are the places where we’ve seen a stalling, or an increase in cases as is the case in Minneapolis. You can see all the other metros are almost all below 10%.”

Of the three, D.C. is the closest to reaching the 10% mark. As of Friday, data from DC Health shows the District’s 7-day moving average for the percent positivity of coronavirus tests had dropped to 12%.

Virginia, which at the beginning of May was reporting 20% of all tests coming back positive, has seen its rate drop to 14% as the commonwealth has been able to sustain increased testing numbers. It is still well below the 10,000 daily tests goal set by Gov. Ralph Northam, however.

Maryland does not release detailed testing information through its coronavirus portal, however, in a press release issued May 19, Maryland Rep. Anthony G. Brown said at the time the state was reporting nearly 25% of its tests coming back positive. He called for Maryland to “aggressively expand” testing to address that.

“The situation on the ground must match our rhetoric and decisions in order to protect public health,” Brown said.

RELATED: Virginia coronavirus updates: Commonwealth on 8 day flat trend in cases, churches to follow state guidelines on reopening

RELATED: Maryland coronavirus updates: Prince George's County to start reopening by June 1, Gov. Hogan announces strategy to improve testing capacity

RELATED: DC targets May 29 for reopening: Here's what it would look like

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