The 13 counties surrounding D.C. are not seeing a decline in case counts.

On Monday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that parts of Northern Virginia may not open alongside the rest of the state. Northern Virginia, the region surrounding Washington, D.C., is not seeing a decline in case counts.

As statewide restrictions are tentatively set to relax this Friday, the 13 counties surrounding Washington, D.C., may be excluded. This would include Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William counties, and Northam asked the counties to unify and formally submit a letter requesting a delay. 

Last week, Northam unveiled the state's plan for gradually relaxing restrictions. Phase One reopening, which involves relaxed restrictions on businesses such as hair salons and restaurants with outdoor seating, is tentatively scheduled to begin this Friday, May 15.

With a surge in testing capacity this week (the state received an "international" shipment of testing equipment), case counts are also rising. Virginia's current case count, which stands at 25,800 as of 5 p.m. Tuesday evening, is particularly concentrated in Northern Virginia.

"It's important that the Commonwealth as a whole can meet the metrics that we've laid out before moving into Phase One. But I also recognize that we live in a diverse commonwealth and different regions face different challenges," Northam said.

Virginia Confirmed COVID-19 Cases by Region, May 12, 2020 (Virginia Department of Health)

"While no region may move faster to ease restrictions, we're open to some regions moving more slowly," Northam continued.

The governor, a former physician, once again reiterated that these guidelines laid out by the state are "a floor, not a ceiling." Again, Northam stressed the importance of data, "baselines," and, most importantly, the fact that all of these rules are subject to change.

For now, Northern Virginia will remain at Phase Zero until at least May 29.

As more people get testes, Virginia will likely see the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the week.

You can keep up on the latest updates on the coronavirus from the Virginia Department of Health.