Wednesday's data shows the virus is slowing throughout the D.C. region. In an uplifting twist, the region is now setting records for some of the lowest case numbers seen in months.
It’s encouraging news as schools begin reopening or planning to reopen, and federal officials say it’s not necessary to get teachers vaccinated before they go back to class.
"There is increasing data to suggest that schools can safely reopen and that safe reopening does not suggest that teachers need to be vaccinated," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
D.C., Virginia Schools Make Reopening Plans
Parents in the D.C. area getting a clearer picture of when more students in our region will head back to the classroom for in-person learning.
Two of the biggest districts in the area, Loudoun and Fairfax, have announced their plans to get kids back in schools by mid-March at the latest.
Loudoun County’s plan has kids returning for hybrid instruction two days a week. Special education students, English language learners and kindergarteners through fifth graders would return first, on Feb. 16.
Middle and high school students would return by March 3.
The plan also gives the superintendent full discretion to return to 100% virtual learning if needed.
Fairfax County's school board voted unanimously to support returning to a hybrid learning plan by March 16. Students would have two days of in-person learning and two days of virtual learning per week.
Superintendent Scott Brabrand said over half of Fairfax County Public Schools staff who signed up for a COVID-19 vaccine have already received at least their first shot.
Many associations that represent teachers and staff have opposed a return to in-person learning until staff have received both doses of the vaccine.
The Prince William County School Board is set to meet Wednesday and discuss another vaccination blitz this weekend for teachers and staff.
The district has a goal of phasing children into in-person learning by the end of the month.
Frederick County Schools officials will also provide an update on their shift to in-person learning later today.
D.C. already welcomed back 9,000 students in classrooms on Tuesday, but not without controversy.
The Washington Teachers Union has raised concerns about safety in schools and plans to carefully monitor teachers and work conditions.
District officials say that all the schools are safe.
Maryland Plans Vaccinations at Mass Sites, Independent Living Facilities
Maryland is ramping up COVID-19 shot access throughout the state by opening mass vaccination sites and partnering with independent living facilities.
Starting Friday, mass vaccination sites are set to open at Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and at the Baltimore Convention Center. Appointments aren’t yet available for these sites, but the state will announce when residents can book one.
CVS pharmacies in Baltimore, Bowie, Chester, Frederick, Fulton, Hagerstown, Ocean City and Rockville will begin offering vaccines starting Thursday, Feb. 11. You can book appointments on this website or call 211 for help.
Currently, people in phases through 1C can get shots, including residents 65 and older and critical workers in high-risk settings.
Maryland is launching an effort to vaccinate residents at independent living facilities that weren’t included in the federal government’s plan to vaccinate other long-term care centers.
Maryland has asked each local health agency to identify independent living facilities that are candidates for clinics. Maryland aims to offer shots in one center per jurisdiction every week, starting with facilities that are most dense and have a higher proportion residents older than 75, the state said.
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.
What the Data Shows
D.C. reported five lives lost to the virus and 61 new cases on Wednesday, the lowest single-day increase recorded since October.
Maryland had 942 new cases and 31 deaths. Virginia recorded 2,129 additional infections and 28 deaths.
The seven-day average decreased across the entire region on Wednesday. Case averages dropped to 191 cases in D.C. In Maryland, case averages dropped from 1,703 to 1,561. Cases in Virginia fell by 221 to 2,516 on Wednesday.
Compared to two weeks ago, hospitalizations are down by about 500 cases in Virginia, by roughly 400 cases in Maryland and by around 50 cases in D.C.
Yesterday, 147,125 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed in D.C., 899,675 in Maryland and 1,306,800 in Virginia, according to the CDC.
The vaccinated population in our region is up to 2.72% in D.C., 1.46% in Maryland and 1.55% in Virginia, CDC data shows.
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
To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- Health officials confirmed Maryland's first case of COVID-19 caused by the new variant first identified in South Africa, then another two cases in Montgomery County residents.
- 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 new 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 Tuesday.
- Bars and restaurants in Maryland will be able to remain open past 10 p.m. starting Monday, Feb. 1, the governor announced. Restaurants will still be capped at half-capacity indoors.
- Nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities in the D.C. region are still working to convince some of their employees that it's safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Hogan outlined plans to put the infrastructure in place to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations when a higher volume of doses becomes available. Six mass vaccination sites are planned, including one at Six Flags America.
- Georgetown University says it will discipline medical students who received COVID-19 vaccines though they were not eligible to receive them.
- Just as millions of Americans are rolling up their sleeves for a COVID-19 vaccine, the News4 I-Team has learned the outgoing Secretary of Health and Human Services made it much harder to get compensated for the most common vaccine injury.
- D.C.’s child care workers are asking officials not to push back their COVID-19 vaccinations.
- 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.
- Maryland reported its first two confirmed cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19.
- A professor is using the trust Black Americans have in barbers to make them more comfortable with taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The Fairfax County School Board voted unanimously Tuesday afternoon to bring all students back in-person for hybrid learning by March 16.
- D.C. has 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.
- Hours before some Fairfax County students were set to return to in-person learning, the school district said that they needed to delay the plan.
- 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.