Officials are urging hospitals to get ready for a surge in patients ...  

On Monday, the DMV had its biggest single-day increase in fatalities related to the virus. As of Wednesday, April 8, there were 1,523 positive cases of coronavirus reported in D.C. The District's number of fatalities from coronavirus now totals 32. With numbers increasing each day, officials warned that the region could become one of the country's next hot spots—urging hospitals to prepare for a surge in patients. 

"We're going to be the next hot spot," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan told CBS News, comparing the pandemic to a "terrible hurricane" that is "hitting all 50 states, and it keeps coming every day, and it keeps intensifying and getting worse."

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser predicts the virus to peak in the nation's capital in May or June—resulting in nearly one infected Washington resident for every seven, by the end of the year.

"We are concerned that the next wave ... that D.C. could be in the second wave," Bowser said in a statement. "We want the message to get in everybody's head—that we see a level of infection in our city that if we aren't strict in our social distancing, the community spread will continue and we will have more people succumb to illness and perhaps death." 

D.C. reported its first positive case on March 7 and its first death on March 20. As the number of confirmed cases rose, local officials issued a stay-at-home order for the DMV area in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. Even so, the number of positive cases continues to grow, forcing D.C. leaders to "double-down." 

 “If you follow the curve of positive cases, we’re really seeing an exponential increase in the number of cases,” says Amanda Castel, a George Washington University medical epidemiologist. “I think two weeks ago, we had less than 200 cases. If you fast forward to some of the most recent data, we’re seeing over 1,000 cases and over 20 deaths. If you just look at the rate of increase over time, that can be very concerning that we’re going to see this rapid uptick.”

What can I do to prevent the coronavirus disease?

According to the CDC, the easiest (and safest) way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to stay put, practice good personal health habits, and to self-isolate if you think that you're sick or are showing symptoms of the virus. In addition to listing ways to prevent spreading the virus, the CDC provides a self-checker on its website.

On Thursday, April 9, Bowser enforced a mask requirement for grocery shoppers. She also asked shoppers to limit their trips and use the self-checkout line, if possible.  

“Our grocery workers are on the front line of the response to this pandemic. All of us ... need to do everything in our power to keep them safe," Bowser told NBC Washington. 

For live updates on the coronavirus, visit coronavirus.dc.gov.