Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Feb. 26

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings for D.C., Maryland and Virginia

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Maryland ranks among the worst in the country for vaccination rates, according to a new analysis from NBC News. The state ranks 41st in the U.S. for vaccination rates. That number is far behind both Virginia and the District – but state leaders are hoping to increase shots significantly.

Maryland opened its third mass vaccination center yesterday, at M&T bank Stadium.

There will eventually be five mass vaccine sites across the state. Officials hope that will increase the amount of shots they can give, dramatically.

“If we get more supply, we can easily ramp to four, five, all the way up to 10,000 a day,” Hogan said. “The demand is greater than supply at this point. So bring on the vaccines, and we’ll get people vaccinated."

Governor Hogan says he’s working closely with the Biden administration, meeting with the president and the coronavirus task force to try to get more vaccine to the state.

Anne Arundel County Rolling Back COVID-19 Restrictions

Anne Arundel County is rolling back some coronavirus restrictions to align with regulations in Maryland. Yesterday, the county executive signed an order allowing businesses to ease some restrictions immediately.

Among the changes – establishments can now operate at 50% capacity. That includes indoor theaters, outdoor entertainment and sporting venues.

Outdoor religious services can also be held with a 250-person limit. The changes come as the county continues to see a drop in cases and hospitalizations.

Many Maryland Schools Set to Reopen to Students on Monday

Many of Maryland’s most populous districts are set to welcome some students back for in-person instruction Monday, marking the start of varying local plans in response to Gov. Larry Hogan’s push to reopen schools by March 1.

Maryland had the lowest percentage of in-person instruction operating in the nation at 10 percent as of Sunday, according to Burbio, a community event tracker.

That number is expected to change drastically come Monday, when Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County, and other smaller counties will bring some students back to school.

Virginia's Governor Wants Summer School, In-Person Learning Offered Throughout the State

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam wants every district to offer summer school. Most school districts are starting to form a plan for what they can offer during the summer.

Fauquier County's superintendent says they'll focus on math and reading but getting kids in school now is the only way to know what students will need in the summer.

In-person learning could also 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.

New bill would make in-person instruction mandatory by July 1st. Northern Virginia reporter Drew Wilder reports.

Vaccination Appointments Open Up in D.C. After Technology Issues

Friday morning at 9 a.m., more than 4,000 new appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for D.C. residents. You must be 65 or older or have a qualifying medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, and sickle cell.

These appointments are also available to workers who live outside of D.C. but work in the District.

After Washington D.C. residents with qualifying medical conditions couldn’t book vaccination appointments Thursday due to technology issues. The department of health apologized and the city is offering an extra registration session with an additional 3,500 appointments Saturday at 9 a.m.

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.

FDA Meets Friday to Debate the Authorization of the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

On Friday, a panel of experts to the Food and Drug Administration will debate whether to authorize emergency use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the FDA confirmed Wednesday that it is safe and effective.

If approved for use, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be the first single-dose vaccine in the U.S.

What the Data Shows

D.C. recorded 162 new cases and four additional lives lost on Friday. The District’s seven-day average is at 118.

Maryland reported 970 new coronavirus cases and 33 lives lost. The state’s seven-day average decreased by five cases to 780.

Virginia reported 1,151 new cases and 225 additional deaths Friday – the largest 24-hour increase in deaths ever in the state.

Daily reported deaths in the state have been very high this week, but 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.

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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