Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 23

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings across the D.C. area

NBC Universal, Inc.

D.C. is suspending indoor dining starting Wednesday at 10 p.m., officials announced last week. The order, which also shuts down museums and libraries, will remain in effect until Jan. 15.

Mayor Muriel Bowser also announced that the state of emergency and public health emergency for D.C. would be extended through March 31, 2021.

The District is following Prince George's and Montgomery counties, which already suspended indoor dining as coronavirus cases surge.

Thirty-three Montgomery County restaurant owners are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the indoor dining ban that started Dec. 15.

They argue outdoor and carryout dining only brings in about 25% of the revenue they need and that the ban could force 45% of the county’s restaurants to close. That’s more than 800 restaurants. 

The restaurants’ attorney says the indoor dining ban causes “irreparable harm – a certain death knell to the restaurant industry.”

Montgomery County lawyers argue the ban was legally enacted by County Executive Marc Elrich and approved by the council. They say that a temporary restraining order “would undermine steps to protect residents of Montgomery County” and would put “countless people at risk of infection and death.”

The hearing is being conducted Wednesday by phone.

Northern Virginia only has about 500 open beds because across the Commonwealth there are now more COVID-19 patients in the hospital than at any other time during the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, 2,166 patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 were hospitalized in Virginia, according to the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association.

In Northern Virginia, hospitals only have a few hundred beds left until they reach capacity. Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter Drew Wilder talked with the president of Inova Fairfax, who said hospitals can find more space, but he's most worried about his medical staff.

"I am concerned, like everyone else in the country, with the next set of holidays coming in, if we're going to continue to be able to match that demand," said Dr. Narang.

In Montgomery County, more than three quarters of all ICU beds are full, officials say. Montgomery County Executive Marc Erich is warning people not to gather in groups for the holidays as infections spread with a “very high risk of transmission.” 

“Vaccines for the general population are still probably months away. They’re not coming tomorrow, they won’t be here in January,” Elrich said, urging people not to let their guards down. 

The Trump administration has announced a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to purchase 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the second quarter of next year.

The first round of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses for Montgomery County arrived Wednesday morning, the Montgomery County Health Department announced. This initial shipment will be reserved for county health staff on the front lines of the pandemic. 

This week, a total of 36,075 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 104,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine are set to arrive in Maryland, bringing the state's total allocation to 191,075 doses, which is enough to vaccinate 90% of front line hospital workers, according to a Monday update from the office of Gov. Larry Hogan.

The District is set to receive 12,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from the federal government this week and 8,000 from Maryland this week, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday.

The second and third shipments of the Pfizer vaccine are also expected to arrive this week – 8,775 doses from Virginia and 4,875 from the federal government.

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 89,000 last week to a still-elevated 803,000, according to new data released Wednesday by the Labor Department.

The report indicates that the job market remains under stress nine months after the coronavirus outbreak sent the U.S. economy into recession and caused millions of layoffs.

In Virginia, COVID-19 wiped out nearly a decade of job gains in just two months, according to Old Dominion's new State of the Commonwealth report.

Food insecurity is also projected to continue rising. The number of individuals receiving SNAP benefits in Virginia jumped from more than 687,000 in March to more than 785,000 in July.

The report also says nearly half of the people across the country going to food banks this year were first-time visitors.

What the Data Shows

D.C., Maryland and Virginia recorded an additional 6,130 cases of the virus Wednesday. Eighty-six more people with COVID-19 died in our region.

The seven-day average of new cases stayed level in D.C. and Maryland on Wednesday but rose for the fourth consecutive day in Virginia to 2,845. 

D.C. reported a staggering 326 new infections and seven more deaths. Maryland reported 2,465 more cases, and another 49 lives lost.

Virginia reported 3,339 confirmed cases, the second highest 24-hour increase yet, and 30 more deaths.

In D.C., there are 253 patients currently hospitalized with coronavirus. In Maryland the hospitalization count rose to 1,776 Wednesday.

Virginia set a new record high Wednesday with 2,232 patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Local Coronavirus Headlines

Reopening Tracker

Although COVID-19 treatments have improved and a vaccine is on the way, even a mild case of the virus can cause long-term complications — including the possibility of erectile dysfunction. Infectious disease expert Dr. Dena Grayson joined LX News with a warning not to let our guards down as we wait for a vaccine.

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.
Contact Us