What the Data Shows
Weekly COVID-19 case averages are up in D.C., Maryland and Virginia amid concerns that a fourth wave of infections is rising up along with vaccine numbers.
Maryland counted 1,584 new cases Thursday — the highest one-day number since Jan. 30. The weekly case average increased by 29 to 1,278. That’s the highest it’s been since early February.
D.C. counted 143 new COVID-19 cases Thursday and the weekly case average rose by 10 to 141.
Virginia added 1,262 cases and the weekly case average jumped the most, by 45, to 1,022.
Local Coronavirus News
Hundreds of Variant Cases a Concern in Maryland
Maryland has identified at least seven variants of COVID-19 circulating through the state, and Gov. Larry Hogan says he is “increasingly concerned” about them.
More than 600 such cases have recently been identified in Maryland. Most — about 86% — are the B117 COVID-19 variant, which originated in the United Kingdom. Others include the New York, South Africa and California variants plus two tied to Brazil.
“These variants are driving an increase in infections and hospitalizations, particularly among younger people,” he said.
Baltimore city and county have bore the brunt of these variants, Hogan said.
“We are quite literally in a race between these variants and the vaccines,” Hogan said.
Virginia Loosens Restrictions on Gatherings, Venues
Changes in Virginia are impacting everything from social gatherings to entertainment venues as well as recreational sporting events.
Restrictions loosened Thursday, but public health experts still encourage people to keep up precautions as cases rise. Masks are still required.
Social gathering limits will increase to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.
Entertainment venues will be capped at 30% capacity with a maximum of 500 people indoors.
Recreational sports venues, like those used for rec leagues, will max out at 30% or 100 people indoors, whichever is less. For outdoor settings, it’s 500 people.
Gov. Ralph Northam said these are all “measured changes” and that Virginia is not simply throwing the doors open.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has announced anyone older than 16 can preregister to get their COVID-19 shot at one of the state's mass vaccination sites. Here's how to sign up.
- The Nationals were gearing up to face the New York Mets on Thursday evening in front of fans for the first time since their 2019 season that ended with a World Series win. But the game was postponed after a player's positive COVID-19 test.
- The Maryland-based company at the center of quality problems that led Johnson & Johnson to discard 15 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine has a string of citations from U.S. health officials for quality control problems.
- Maryland’s coronavirus positivity rate has more than doubled, growing fears of a fourth wave even as more residents get vaccinated.
- Montgomery College is ready to open the doors to its Bioscience Education Center on the Germantown campus as a vaccination site, eventually hoping to give thousands of vaccinations daily.
- New numbers from AARP show Virginia is struggling to control the coronavirus in nursing homes with the second highest COVID-19 death rate in the country.
- Maryland moves into the next phase of its vaccination plan Tuesday, expanding eligibility to residents who have a qualifying disability or medical condition. Here's how to get your shot.
- In D.C., a new group of people is now eligible for the vaccine as of Monday. The group includes taxi and ride share drivers, those working in delivery and courier service, and media and mass communications employees. Anyone eligible should preregister for an appointment.
- D.C.'s public libraries entered Phase Two of their reopening plan Monday. Select locations are open at reduced capacity. You may visit open locations to return materials, pick up a hold, check out books from the Grab-n-Go selection, get a library card or partake in some other services. However, you will not be able to browse the collections or sit and read or work at a table or in a lounge area.
- One of the largest concert promoters in the area is using its truck that once sold tickets to collect donations of food.
- Access to the famous Tidal Basin cherry blossoms could be closed off if the crowds don't maintain social distancing. The National Park Service says it’s prioritizing public health.
- Maryland moved to Phase 2A of its vaccination plan, meaning residents age 60 or older are eligible to book appointments to get shots. Here’s the timeline of expanded vaccine eligibility.
- West Virginia opened coronavirus vaccine eligibility to all residents aged 16 and older, Gov. Jim Justice announced.
- The Virginia Department of Health Epidemiology team said it has been reviewing more than 10,000 medical cases to ensure they are consistent with the state’s definition of a COVID-19 death, a VDH spokesperson said. About 99 deaths have been reclassified as a COVID-19 case that did not result in death, VDH said.
- This year's White House Easter Egg Roll was canceled, a spokesman for first lady Jill Biden said Friday. "The Bidens hope to continue this tradition in 2022," the spokesman said. The White House plans to send out thousands of 2021 commemorative Easter Egg Roll eggs to vaccination sites and local hospitals.
- More people will be able to celebrate Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on Easter and during Holy Week. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office temporarily raised coronavirus-related capacity limits at the Basilica. The mayor’s office granted the Archdiocese a waiver to allow between 750 and 1,500 people inside.
- Virginia's schools and colleges can hold outdoor graduation ceremonies with as many as 5,000 attendees.
- NBC News is making finding information on when, how and where to obtain your coronavirus vaccination easier with its Plan Your Vaccine website.
Key Charts and Graphs
The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.
Vaccination Portals by County
As vaccinations in our region ramp up, here's a look at local portals residents can use to sign up for vaccination appointments or sign up to receive alerts.
- Washington, D.C. signups – vaccinate.dc.gov
- Maryland signups – www.marylandvax.org/ and covidvax.maryland.gov
- Virginia pre-registration– https://vaccinate.virginia.gov/preregister.html
- Montgomery County – www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/
- Prince George's County – www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/3730/COVID-19-Vaccination
- Howard County – www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Health/MM-Alerts-and-Recalls/COVID-19-Vaccine
- Anne Arundel County – aacounty.org/covidvax
- Fairfax County – www.fairfaxcounty.gov/health/novel-coronavirus/vaccine
- City of Alexandria – www.alexandriava.gov/health/info/default.aspx?id=119270
- Loudoun County – www.loudoun.gov/covid19vaccine
- Prince William County – coronavirus.pwcgov.org/vaccine-information/ & VDH
How to Stay Safe
Anyone can get COVID-19. Here are three simple ways the CDC says you can lower your risk:
- Wear a snug-fitting mask that covers your nose and mouth.
- Avoid being indoors with people who are not members of your household. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. If you are indoors with people you don’t live with, stay at least six feet apart and keep your mask on.
- Wash your hands often, especially after you have been in a public place.