Many Washington, D.C., residents newly eligible to book vaccines Thursday were disappointed when technology issues snarled the registration process.
D.C. has expanded vaccine eligibility to residents aged 16 to 64 who have chronic conditions including asthma, cancer, diabetes and sickle cell anemia.
When the first batch of appointments went live on Thursday, some eligible residents couldn’t register.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Health also blamed technology.
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The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.
“We are working with Microsoft to understand why heavy traffic caused some eligible individuals to not get through,” DC Health said, calling the issues “frustrating.”
Thousands of appointments offered — each reserved for residents of priority zip codes —were booked shortly after they were released.
On Friday, D.C. is set to release thousands of vaccine appointments that can be booked by any eligible resident.
VP Kamala Harris Visits DC Vaccination Site
Vice President Kamala Harris was greeted with applause form customers and workers at the Giant Food store in Ward 8 Thursday while visiting a vaccine site with local officials.
The visit was a chance for District officials and the Biden administration to promote the vaccine and encourage people, particularly in the African-American community, to trust the vaccine.
Harris looked on as a D.C. senior got her second shot. She spoke of her own experience getting the vaccine and encouraged others do get their shots.
In-person Learning Could Become Mandatory in Virginia.
In-person learning could soon be required by law in Virginia.
A bill mandating school districts offer in-person learning by July 1 overwhelmingly passed the House of Delegates.
The bill allows districts to switch to fully virtual, if there's a COVID-19 outbreak in school .
The bill is heading to the Senate where a previous version of the bill already passed.
The in-person learning mandate also has the support of the Virginia Education Association and the Governor.
In a statement to News4, Governor Northam's office says the bill aligns with the Governor's expectation that all school divisions across Virginia offer safe, in-person instruction options.
DC Mayor Loses Sister to COVID-19
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lost her only sister and oldest sibling to COVID-19, she announced the same day the city marked 1,000 lives lost to the virus.
Mercia Bowser died Wednesday at age 64, the mayor announced. She was being treated for COVID-19-related pneumonia.
“Mercia was loved immensely and will be missed greatly, as she joins the legion of angels who have gone home too soon due to the pandemic,” the mayor said in a statement. “I ask that you continue to keep those who have been lost or impacted by the pandemic and those who are working so hard to protect us from it in your thoughts and prayers.”
What the Data Shows
D.C. recorded 179 new cases and four additional lives lost on Thursday. The District’s seven-day average increased by 8 cases to 117.
The daily case rate (15.5) and the percent of COVID-19 patients out of total hospital patients (10.1%) slipped back into the red zone today.
The mean test turnaround time is the lowest it’s been in months. It now only takes 1.5 days on average to get results back from a COVID-19 test in the District.
As of Thursday, 3.1% of D.C. residents are fully vaccinated and about 974 residents and 390 non-residents receive a vaccine dose every week.
Maryland reported 179 new coronavirus cases and 16 lives lost. The state’s seven-day average decreased by one case to 786. It’s been 44 days since Maryland reached its peak seven-day average of 3,228.
Hospitalizations in Maryland are the lowest they’ve been in three months and 6.34% of the population are fully vaccinated.
Virginia reported 1,388 new cases and 136 additional deaths Thursday. Virginia’s seven-day average dropped by 20 cases to 1,313.
Hospitalizations in Virginia decreased to the lowest count since late November. Although deaths in the state have been high this week, Virginia officials say some of that is due to a backlog.
Virginia health officials also point out that from an epidemiological standpoint, death is a lagging indicator: The big upsurge in cases in late January has resulted in a large increase in deaths now, about a month later. Now that new infections are decreasing precipitously, we can expect fewer deaths next month. In Virginia, more than two million doses of vaccine have been distributed and 6.54% of the population has 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.
- 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
- D.C. expanded vaccine eligibility, meaning residents over 65, working essential jobs or with certain chronic conditions can try to book appointments.
- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser lost her only sister and oldest sibling to COVID-19.
- More than a thousand Washington, D.C., residents have now died of COVID-19.
- The number of coronavirus vaccine shots that have been given in Virginia is ticking up, but the state is still falling short of its desired inoculation rate because too few vaccines are coming in, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
- 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.
- 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.
- Virginia is set to drop its curfew and relax other COVID-19 restrictions, including on outdoor gatherings, starting March 1.
- 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.