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‘Significant Virus Circulating Here’: White House Expert On MD

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'Significant Virus Circulating Here': White House Expert On MD

The Maryland National Guard helped a nursing home in Baltimore May 19 with quarantine protocols to combat the coronavirus. Nearly 6,000 residents of congregate living facilities and over 2,500 staff statewide have the virus as of May 23. (Sgt. Chazz Kibler/U.S. Army National Guard) MARYLAND — As emergency room visits and coronavirus cases decline in some parts of the country, the virus has continued to spread in a handful of hot spots like Maryland and the District of Columbia, a White House official said Friday. Researchers are now studying three metropolitan areas, including the D.C. metro, to understand the cause.

"There is still significant virus circulating here," said Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, pointing to Maryland, Virginia and D.C.

Birx said she has directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study three metropolitan areas — D.C., Los Angeles and Chicago — to figure out what is happening.

"Even though Washington [D.C.] has remained closed, LA has remained closed, Chicago has remained closed, we still see these ongoing cases," Birx said Friday during a White House news briefing. The CDC "is working with the local areas … to really understand where are these new cases coming from, and what do we need to do to prevent them in the future?" Birx said.

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Across the country, Birx said 42 states had a less than 10 percent positivity rate for coronavirus on a rolling seven-day average, meaning under 10 percent of those tested for the virus came up positive during that period. Those with the highest positivity rates were Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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