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.
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.
- 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.