Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Feb. 20

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

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As the region tries to get vaccination appointments back on track after winter weather-related disruptions, case rates and hospitalizations generally continue to improve — with a notable exception.

The University of Maryland has asked students who live on campus to “sequester in place” and only leave their rooms briefly for fresh air or to pick up food.

The university reports a spike in outbreaks of more than five cases and clusters of more than three in residence halls and sorority or fraternity houses.  

Classes will also be moved online starting Monday. The enhanced measures will be in place for at least a week.

Touring a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan, President Joe Biden says the U.S. is currently on track to vaccinate all Americans who want the shot by summer.

Vaccine Outreach in Hyattsville

The Maryland Department of Health brought its mobile unit to Prince George's County as part of their GoVAX outreach campaign.

The truck has informational banners on it and broadcasts prevention and vaccination messages in Spanish and English.

Volunteers will also distribute flyers and provide free face masks, starting in the Hyattsville zip code 20783.

Dr. Mark Martin, the Deputy Director of the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, said people would fan out in the community to lay the groundwork now to convince people to get shots once they are available.

“The Maryland Department of Health is working really hard, day and night, literally, to basically get these doses in arms,” he said. “And to push the messaging to really deal with this hesitancy issue, ok, which existed by the way before COVID.”

Northern Virginia continues to open its schools for in-person learning, but some parents say their students' needs are different. News4's Drew Wilder reports on parents weighing their options.

Walgreens to Expand Vaccinations in Virginia

Walgreens will begin sending vaccines to some of its Virginia locations next week.

Starting Thursday, Walgreens will get 480,000 weekly doses as part of the federal pharmacy program. It’s unclear exactly how many of those will go to Virginia or when appointments can be booked at Select stores in Maryland and West Virginia have already been giving out the vaccine.

What the Data Shows

D.C. counted 92 new coronavirus cases on Saturday and one more death.

Hospitalizations are in-line with phase two goals, at 84%, but have ticked up since reaching a recent low point of 191 last Saturday. On Saturday, 206 COVID-19 patients were in D.C.’s hospitals and 10.1% of all hospital patients had coronavirus — slightly higher than the benchmark goal.

Maryland diagnosed 763 new cases, and 20 more residents died. Testing has also declined over the past several weeks: About 25,450 were conducted on Friday, compared to more than 44,000 reported on Jan. 1.

Virginia saw the largest jumps, with 1,393 new cases and 91 deaths. The state also has the region’s highest rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive, 8.2%. That’s compared to 5.2% in D.C. and 4.17% in Maryland.

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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