Thousands of local students returned to classrooms Tuesday as the region continues vaccination efforts, reaching 10% of Marylanders and 11% of Virginians who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
D.C. has given at least one dose to more than 62,000 people, about 54% of them residents. About 35% of residents aged 65 or older have gotten at least one shot.
Cases and hospitalizations continue to decline: On Tuesday, Maryland and Virginia reported their lowest single-day case increases in months.
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Maryland, Virginia Schools Bring Back Students
For some students in Frederick County, Maryland, Loudoun County and Fairfax County, it will be the first time seeing their friends and teachers in almost a year.
Each school district has different guidelines for phasing students back in, and all of them say they're making safety the top priority.
In D.C., teachers spent part of the long weekend preparing to welcome students back into the classroom safely. Hundreds of public school teachers and staff waited Monday in long lines outside Dunbar High School to get their vaccines.
Some people stood in line for up to 2 hours.
School officials say educators are doing whatever it takes to get back into the classroom.
“There’s a lot of people who want to do the right thing and get vaccinated,” one man in line said.
Fauci Endorses Return to School
The nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told News4 that he supports kids returning to schools with proper precautions in place.
“There’s so many reasons to get the children back to school. Not only for the physical, psychological and social health of the children, but also for the families.”
Fauci said that getting kids back to school is also a vital step in allowing parents to return to work.
Asked when he thinks children will be eligible for a vaccine, Fauci said it may take months — possibly fall for elementary-aged students.
Hear more from Dr. Fauci all week on News4.
Virginia Launches Statewide Vaccine Preregistration System
Virginia has launched a new statewide system to get people pre-registered for the vaccine.
The hope is to provide one, consistent sign-up process throughout Virginia.
If you were already pre-registered for the vaccine, you don’t need to do anything. But you can use the portal to check that your preregistration transferred properly.
The website will send weekly reminders about your appointment and allow you to check your status at any time.
Maryland Approves Pandemic Relief
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed a bipartisan $1 billion relief package Monday, providing direct stimulus checks to hundreds of thousands of Maryland residents.
The direct payments could be up to $500 for qualifying families and $300 for qualifying individuals. The bill received unanimous support in the state senate and near-unanimous in the house.
What the Data Shows
Cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease from all-time highs recorded mid-January. The number of new cases in our region Tuesday were some of the lowest counts reported in months.
Maryland reported 516 new cases, the lowest single-day increase in four months. Thirty deaths were also reported Tuesday.
Virginia recorded 1,014 new cases – the lowest jump in cases since November – and 19 additional deaths.
D.C. recorded 130 new cases and two lives lost on Tuesday.
The seven-day average decreased in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Hospitalizations are slightly up from yesterday’s counts in Virginia and D.C., but they decreased in Maryland by three.
In D.C. 193,900 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed and 121,313 have been administered. A total of 36,388 people have received both doses of vaccine in the District as of Sunday.
In Maryland, a total of 850,994 doses have been administered, with 231,127 Marylanders (3.82% of the state’s population) having received both shots. Just over 10% of the Maryland population has received one shot as of Sunday.
In Virginia, 1,355,231 doses have been administered. Nearly 12% of the population has received one shot and 3.75% of Virginians have received both shots as of Sunday.
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 information – www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
- 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 – aahealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-faq/
- 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
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- NBC News is making finding information on when, how and where to obtain your coronavirus vaccination easier with its Plan Your Vaccine website.
- Medical schools across the country report a spike in applications, especially from students of color. At Georgetown University’s medical school, applications are up 24% overall and 40% from underrepresented minorities. The University of Maryland along with Howard University have also seen a rising number of applicants.
- The Maryland General Assembly has passed a pandemic relief measure that will deliver more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for low-income families and small businesses.
- The first case of a COVID-19 variant from South Africa was diagnosed in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
- Health officials confirmed Maryland's first case of COVID-19 caused by the new variant first identified in South Africa, then another two cases in Montgomery County residents.
- Many D.C. restaurant workers who already were coping with the safety hazards and financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic also are facing increased sexual harassment, a report from a labor organization says.
- Face masks are now required in all National Park Service buildings, and on land maintained by the Park Service when physical distancing is not possible, federal officials announced.
- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan says school districts should resume in-person learning by March 1 or face legal action, which the state teacher's union says is a threat to educators.
- Thousands of students returned to classrooms as schools reopened Tuesday in Frederick County, Maryland, Fairfax County and Loudoun County.
- Virginia Governor Ralph Northam directed all schools to offer in-person classes by March 15, saying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other leaders say it's possible to reopen safely.
- The Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously to bring all students back in-person for hybrid learning by March 16.
- D.C. lifted its ban on indoor dining, but libraries and recreation centers are still closed.
- Virginia instituted a curfew and a stricter mask mandate.
- Maryland tightened restrictions on businesses, bars and restaurants.
- All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed because of rising COVID-19 cases.
- Courts throughout Maryland remain partially shut down due to the pandemic.
- Prince George's County tightened restrictions and required masks to be worn outdoors.
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.