Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Dec. 8

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

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The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the country is just beginning to feel the impact of Thanksgiving celebrations.

“The blip from Thanksgiving isn’t even here yet. So we’re getting those staggering numbers of new cases and hospitalizations before we even feel the full brunt of the Thanksgiving holiday,” Fauci said.

The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine could become available for Maryland as early as next week, Dr. Jinlene Chan, Deputy Secretary for Maryland's Public Health Services announced Tuesday.

Dr. Chan addressed the latest coronavirus news along with Gov. Larry Hogan and Assistant Secretary Bryan Mroz at a press conference Tuesday.

Maryland will receive 155,000 doses of the coronavirus in total with about 50,000 from Pfizer and 104,000 from Moderna, officials said.

The Moderna vaccine could be ready for Maryland to use as soon as Dec. 22, Dr. Chan said. Both Pfizer and Moderna are awaiting approval from the FDA's advisory committee.

Hogan also announced some positive news. More than 1.2 million Marylanders have subscribed to the state's COVID-19 contact-tracing app, which puts Maryland in first place in the nation, according to Hogan.

The response to his call for additional medical staff to help with the pandemic has also been "enthusiastic."

“In the first week since I announced it, 4,268 prospects have signed up to work at our hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites and vaccination clinics," he said.

Fairfax and Loudoun counties are approaching coronavirus thresholds that would necessitate a return to all virtual learning. New cases must be greater than 200 per 100,000 people and the positivity rate needs to be greater than 10% for the counties to move into virtual learning again.

As of Monday, Fairfax County has 431.4 new cases per 100,000 people and has a 9.4% positivity rate. Loudoun County had 365.5 cases per 100,000 and a 9.7% positivity rate.

D.C.’s health officials have identified the top four locations for outbreaks within the last six months, which are colleges and universities, K-12 schools, child care facilities and restaurants.

But despite the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, District health officials say there's no plan to reinstate the stay at home order.

D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said that residents may not want to follow another suggestion or directive to stay home unless there’s an essential reason to leave.

“It would be much easier for us as the health department to advise the mayor to move us to a stay at home posture but that would not necessarily be widely acceptable by the residents of our community,” Nesbitt said.

Good news for thousands of unemployed residents in the District. Today mayor bowser announced DC will be sending out its own relief checks. News4’s Mark Segraves reports.

The District is planning relief for unemployed workers in the form of $1,200 checks.

Thousands of people who applied to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program by Nov. 30 will be eligible. Many of the checks will go to people like musicians and other self-employed workers.

What the Data Shows

D.C., Maryland and Virginia each announced a significant increase in new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, amounting to the second-largest 24-hour increase in cases for our region. Saturday holds the record for the largest jump in new cases.

Virginia also set a new record for the most new cases reported in a single day. The state recorded 3,127 new cases Tuesday.

The region as a whole also reported 100 additional lives lost, the second largest jump in deaths since May.

The surge in new cases has also caused seven-day averages to rise in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, ending weeks of promising leveling trends recorded in late November.

D.C.'s rolling seven-day average is at 272 cases, nearly 100 cases higher than last week. Maryland's seven-day average has jumped by more than 400 cases from last week to 2,689 on Tuesday. Virginia's seven-day average is up to 2,377, more than 550 cases higher than last week.

Testing positivity rates in D.C. and Maryland are at 5.5% and 7.89%, respectively. In Virginia, nearly 11% of administered tests are now coming back positive for COVID-19, that's the highest 7-day positivity rate the state has recorded since late May.

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How to Stay Safe

There are ways to lower your risk of catching coronavirus. Here are guidelines from the CDC:

  • 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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