Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Feb. 3

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

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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.

Two Virginia school districts have made plans to return schools to classrooms within weeks. News4's Justin Finch reports.

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.

With new COVID-19 variants from the U.K., South Africa and Brazil now spreading, doctors are rushing to vaccinate as many Americans as possible before more mutations arise. Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, a regional director of One Medical, joined LX News to talk about why vaccines are so important right now and how she encourages her patients to overcome their skepticism about it.

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.

To get a better idea of when you'll be eligible to receive a vaccine, use our tool below.

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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