Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 30

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

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Virginia is expecting about 100,000 more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the week. Despite the shipment, the state is still behind the original target for vaccinating the first group. 

A husband and wife living in a long-term care facility each got their first dose of a vaccine this week. They live in the same Alexandria facility, just steps away, but haven’t seen each other since before Thanksgiving because of the risk of the virus. 

Sandra O’Keefe said she’s dreaming of being reunited with Dan, her husband of 65 years, after they get their second doses.

“I think looking at him when he smiles will be wonderful,” she said. 

Long-term care facility residents in Virginia began receiving the vaccine this week. The state has about 285,000 doses now. About 20% have been administered. 

When the next shipment of doses arrives in Virginia this week, the state will still be several thousand short of vaccinating everyone in group 1A. There are already teams working to identify who will be in groups 1B and 1C. There’s no estimate yet on when those shots will be administered.

Montgomery County is preparing for the worst as hospitals admit more and more COVID-19 patients.

At least two hospitals in the county were out of space in their intensive care units on Tuesday, Dr. Travis Gayles, the county health officer, said.

It’s a sobering assessment from county health officials of where things stand in Montgomery County and where they could be headed.

“[Hospitals] may have beds but not the staff to support them,” Gayles said. “The case rates we have now are higher than where we were in spring.”

Montgomery County reported 450 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, more than 45,000 residents have been sickened and 1,077 have died.

ICUs reached capacity in at least two county hospitals yesterday as health officials warn of a post-holiday surge. News 4's Cory Smith Reports.

New cases per 100,000 residents have ticked up in the past week and the percent of tests coming back positive is trending upwards.

The county hopes to vaccinate more than 2,500 front line healthcare workers and first responders by the end of the week.

As the county prepares to end 2020 with several metrics headed in the wrong direction, County Executive Marc Elrich has a plea for the New Year’s holiday.

“Some people will be tempted to host gatherings in their homes and invite over friends and family. Don’t do it,” Elrich said.

Anne Arundel's county executive has reversed course on an indoor dining ban which has been subject to a nearly month-long legal battle between area restaurants and bars and the county.

Indoor dining will now be permitted at 25% capacity, Steuart Pittman, Anne Arundel county executive announced today.

A county judge had previously indicated he would announce a ruling about the indoor dining ban on Wednesday, but Pittman's new order made that decision unnecessary.

The vaccine rollout continues in the D.C. area, and on Wednesday Fairfax County health care workers in the first priority group received their first dose.

At the Herndon-Reston District Health Clinic, health care workers who are not associated with hospital systems got their first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Amy Phelps, a dental assistant, got vaccine and said it was quick and easy.

“I think everybody was in good spirits and just ready to go with it,” Phelps said.

More than 5,600 vaccine doses have been administered in Fairfax County, the most of any county in the state.

In general, D.C., Maryland and Virginia plan to give vaccines first to health care workers and people at high-risk for exposure, followed by other essential workers and high-risk people before the shot becomes widely available to the general public.

When might you get a vaccine? Check out this tool to find out:

The District says there is an outbreak of COVID-19 at two youth detention facilities, affecting at least 17 people.

Most of them at the New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, Maryland, where 10 residents and five staff members tested positive.

Two more staff tested positive at a facility in Northeast.

More than 20 youth residents have been quarantined.

Health officials are looking into the possibility the outbreak was the result of holiday visitations or if a staff member may have brought in the virus.

What the Data Shows

Daily new infections are continuing to level off in the D.C. region. Hospitalizations, however remain high.

D.C. reported an additional 223 cases on Wednesday and five deaths, including a 31-year-old man. Maryland recorded 2,628 new cases and 45 lives lost. In Virginia, 2,516 new infections were reported and 54 deaths were recorded.

D.C.’s seven-day average reached an all-time high of 287 on Dec. 9, in line with the surge of cases following Thanksgiving gatherings. Since then, new infections have dropped considerably.

Currently, D.C.’s seven-day average is at 219. It has remained below the 250 mark for the past two weeks.

Maryland had a seven-day average of 2,261 Wednesday, nearly 700 cases lower than the state’s high of 2,922 reported on Dec. 10.

Virginia recorded its highest seven-day average (2,984 cases) on Dec. 12 and figures have decreased steadily since. Today, the state’s seven-day average is at 2,560 cases.

We may see a similar surge in cases about two weeks from now, as symptoms from infections spread over Christmas and New Years present themselves.

In D.C., 233 residents were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday. In Maryland, hospitalizations rose slightly to 1,756.

In Virginia, 2,366 patients are hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

D.C.’s test positivity rate is up to 5.5% and the daily case rate remains in the red zone.

Maryland’s average positivity rate is up to 8.22%. Virginia’s seven-day average positivity rate is up to 12.7%, the highest it’s been since May.

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.
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