Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Feb. 18

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

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Winter weather forced some COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics to close Thursday, a disappointment to many who had appointments even as cases and hospitalizations decline.

Montgomery County has canceled its county-run testing and vaccine clinics for the day.

D.C.’s testing sites are closed, as well as the Fairfax County Health Department vaccine clinics.

People who have appointments, should receive a notification email with more details.

The winter weather isn’t just impacting local clinics.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the winter storm may cause widespread delays in COVID-19 vaccine shipments. A winter storm has impacted millions of people across the U.S., causing widespread power outages in Texas before rushing into the Mid-Atlantic.

DC Expands Vaccine Eligibility

More D.C. residents are now eligible to get the vaccine. News4’s Mark Segraves explains the groups who can get their shot and what proof they need to qualify.

D.C. is moving to its next tier of vaccine eligibility, expanding access to grocery store workers, health and social services, manufacturing and food packaging employees.

You can register for your vaccine appointment through or call 855-363-0333.

Approximately 2,450 appointments will open to D.C. residents 65 years or older who live in priority zip codes and to individuals who are essential workers starting Thursday at 6 p.m. The priority zip codes are focused on Wards 5,7 and 8 and include 20422, 20011, 20017, 20018, 20002, 20001, 20019, 20020, 20032 and 20593. 

On Friday at 6 p.m. an additional 2,450 appointments will be made available for all D.C. residents who are 65 or older and essential workers. 

Starting the week of March 1, D.C. will move into Phase 1C Tier 1 of vaccine distribution which will allow D.C. residents who are 16 to 64 years old with pre-existing medical conditions to begin scheduling their vaccination appointments.

The list of medical conditions includes asthma, obesity, diabetes, cancer, HIV, sickle cell disease, pregnancy, heart disease, intellectual and developmental disabilities and more.

D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt provided details about COVID-19 infections in the District at a press conference Thursday saying that while the daily case rate is falling, it’s still in the red zone, indicating high community spread.

D.C.’s test positivity metric – currently at 5% – is promising, however. 

“We’ve managed to keep the the number below 10%, which I think is remarkable in the face of us having a high daily case rate,” Nesbitt said. 

She stressed the importance of not getting complacent due to encouraging metrics. “Because some people can be positive with COVID-19 and not have symptoms, it’s critically important for people to continue to be tested,” she said. 

Overall, 2.5% of D.C. residents have been fully vaccinated and 36.8% of individuals over age 65 have been vaccinated, the data shows. 

The highest percent of vaccinated individuals are in Ward 3, and the lowest in Ward 8. Ethnicity data is still missing for over half of the vaccinated residents recorded in D.C.’s database.

New Coronavirus Variant Found in Maryland

Another coronavirus variant has been discovered in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan says a strain of the virus that originated in Brazil was found in a 65-year-old man who recently died.

Like many of the other variants, the Brazilian strain is believed to be more transmissible than the original. We don't know if it causes more serious illness.

Both Reagan National and Dulles International airports will soon offer COVID-19 tests to travelers. News4's Adam Tuss looks at when those tests will be ready to go and how it will work.

Prince George's Schools Reopening Plan

Prince George’s County unveiled a school reopening plan Wednesday that would give families the option to return to classrooms starting in April.

The plan includes a two-day hybrid learning model.

Phase one is set to begin April 8 for all special education students, pre-K through sixth graders and 12th graders.

Phase two begins on April 15 for the remaining seventh through 11th grade students.

Virginians Frustrated Over Preregistration System Lag

If you’re looking to confirm that your vaccine preregistration transferred over when Virginia launched a new statewide site, know that there's still a lag.

Not all preregistrations have been entered into the new system.

In the coming days, residents should be able to confirm their preregistration transferred using the new portal. Anyone who lives or works in the state can sign up to get contacted when they're eligible to schedule an appointment. If you don’t have internet access, call 877-VAX-INVA.

What the Data Shows

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to decrease in our region as vaccinations surge upwards.

D.C. reported 121 new cases and seven additional deaths. The seven-day average decreased by nine cases to 110.

Maryland cases increased by 986 and deaths increased by 30. The state’s seven-day average decreased to 872.

Virginia reported 1,526 additional infections and 16 lives lost Thursday. Virginia’s seven-day average decreased to 1,632.

D.C.’s test positivity rate – the percentage of tests that return positive for the coronavirus – is at 5%, indicating moderate community spread, according to the District’s reopening metrics. A positivity rate of 3% is one of several benchmarks the city needs to achieve before it can begin significantly loosening COVID-19 restrictions.

Maryland’s positivity rate is at 4.13% as of Thursday. Virginia’s positivity rate has also decreased in recent days. As of Thursday, an average of 8.6% of those tested for COVID-19 are infected. Both Maryland and Virginia are reporting the lowest rate it’s been since early November.

As of Wednesday, 2.5% of D.C. residents, 4.2% of Marylanders and 4.3% of Virginians have been fully vaccinated.

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.

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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