Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Feb. 7

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

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The snow storm on Sunday will disrupt COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, on Monday. 

The St. Mary’s County Health Department’s drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites will be closed and the COVID-19 vaccine clinic cancelled on Monday, the health department announced.

Anyone with an appointment for the vaccination clinic on Monday will be rescheduled to Tuesday at the same time and location as their original appointment, the health department said.

Go here for full info from the county

COVID-19 Outbreaks Seen at Baltimore County Private Schools

Three Orthodox Jewish day schools in Baltimore County have reported large numbers of COVID-19 cases in the past two months.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the outbreaks prompted one middle school to shut down and move to virtual learning for a week.

The outbreaks are far larger than others seen in public or private schools since the state’s mandatory reporting requirements began in October. County health officials said they have been working with the schools, but declined to detail what measures have been taken at each to contain the outbreaks, which began shortly after Thanksgiving.

The Talmudical Academy of Baltimore, a century-old, kindergarten through 12th grade school in Pikesville, had 62 cases inside the school Feb. 3, according to Maryland’s COVID-19 school dashboard. That number was by far the most cases reported in a single school since October. The school will be closed for two weeks, including one week of virtual instruction and a week of vacation.

The next highest number of cases was 45 at Bais Yaakov Eva Winer High School, a girls school with about 425 students. 

The Torah Institute in Owings Mills had 26 cases as of Jan. 27.

At the Talmudical Academy, most of the cases have been in the middle school, said Rabbi Yaacov Cohen, executive director.

School officials said they were working with the health department. 

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.

Virginia House Passes Bill Offering Sick Leave for Essential Workers

The Virginia House passed a bill last week that would guarantee paid sick leave for certain essential workers, but the measure's fate in the more business-friendly Senate remains unclear.

After similar sick leave measures died in last year's regular and special sessions, the issue continues to prove divisive among Democrats who control the state government. As this year's bill has been easily advancing through the House, its chief sponsor and advocates on both sides of the issue have expressed skepticism or uncertainty that the upper chamber would look favorably upon it.

Del. Elizabeth Guzman said in an interview that she whittled down this year's bill from versions she’s previously carried after discussions with senators who voted against it in the past.

“I would like for the senators and other businesses in Virginia to just start looking at workers as humans, and not as a production machine,” said Guzman, who is seeking her party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.

Guzman's bill, which passed 54-46 Thursday morning, would require employers to provide full-time essential workers like grocery store employees and prison personnel paid sick leave. It includes a hardship waiver that could exempt certain businesses from the mandate, and it would exempt retail companies with fewer than 25 workers. The bill wouldn't allow a worker to accrue more than 40 hours of paid sick leave in a year, unless the employer selects a higher limit.

Advocates have argued that the pandemic has only heightened the need to make sure workers can stay home if they or their children are ill and that not offering paid sick leave can create a crisis for workers forced to choose between taking a sick day or getting paid.

Opponents have said a sick leave mandate would be onerous and costly for small businesses that are already struggling amid the pandemic and related government restrictions.

What the Data Shows

D.C. announced 158 more cases of the COVID-19. Five more people died, including people in their 50s and 60s. The seven-day rolling average of new cases was lower. Just one more person was hospitalized. 

Maryland announced 1,500 more cases of the virus and 20 more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new cases was lower and 17 fewer people were hospitalized. 

Virginia announced 2,084 more cases of the virus and five more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new cases was higher but 52 fewer people were hospitalized. 

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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