D.C. opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments for child care workers, and announced additional help for people struggling to pay rent.
On Mondays at noon, vaccination appointments will open up for child care workers in D.C.
Overall, 94,100 vaccine doses have been delivered in D.C. and 67,688 have been administered as of Monday. An additional 11,475 doses are expected to be delivered to the District this week.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced an update in regards to the District's housing stabilization grants, which was established in November to provide financial support for renters.
Through the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Program (CHAP), $11.5 million has gone to about 4,500 households through housing stabilization grants.
The District paid 80% to tenants' back rent from April and November 2020, with housing providers forgiving the rest. Over 60% of the households were located in Wards 7 and 8.
About $1.5 million has been paid to help cover the rent of approximately 450 low-income households in D.C. The annual income of most recipients is less than $37,000.
"There is help out there for you and you need to begin to engage it," she said.
The mayor reiterated that housing providers may apply to CHAP on behalf of eligible residents.
Dr. Fauci Joining Prince George's County Townhall on COVID-19 Vaccinations
Dr. Fauci will address community concerns about the coronavirus vaccine during a Prince George's County Zoom townhall Monday at 2 p.m.
Fauci answered questions and concerns about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and concerns about the vaccine among minority communities.
"The concern on the part of Brown and Black people about engaging in a medical program that is run by the federal government is understandable," Dr. Fauci said.
Despite this, it's key to inform communities that "the ethical safeguards that have been put into place since Tuskegee and since the Henrietta Lacks incident are such that those types of things would be impossible under today's conditions," he said.
"Right now, we need to inform people in the minority community that vaccines, or any other intervention, are under very close scrutiny by ethical boards, as has been the vaccine program for Covid," Dr. Fauci said.
Pfizer to Make Vaccines Faster
Pfizer is expected to cut its vaccine production time almost in half, the company announced Monday. It currently takes Pfizer 110 days to produce a batch of its COVID-19 vaccine. As a result of ramped-up production and increased efficiency, the company says it expects to shorten that time to 60 days.
Congressman Dies After Battling COVID-19, Cancer
Rep. Ron Wright of Texas died after fighting COVID-19 and cancer, his family announced. He was 67.
Wright said on Jan. 21 he tested positive for COVID-19 after coming in contact with someone who had the virus the week before. Wright said he would remain in quarantine until his doctors gave him permission to return to work.
New Research on Reinfections
U.S. health officials may be overlooking a growing subgroup of COVID-19 survivors: those who get reinfected, NBC News reports. Scientists have say that while getting infected more than once is possible, it is rare.
A Kaiser Health News review of coronavirus surveillance efforts finds that many U.S. states aren’t rigorously tracking or investigating suspected cases of reinfection which could weaken scientists’ understanding of reinfection.
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 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.
Delta Extends Middle Seat Blocking Through April 2021
Delta Airlines will extend middle seat blocking on flights through April 2021, the company announced Monday. Delta is currently the only U.S. airline to block middle seats and limit capacity on all flights.
“We want our customers to have complete confidence when traveling with Delta, and they continue to tell us that more space provides more peace of mind,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “We’ll continue to reassess seat blocking in relation to case transmission and vaccination rates.”
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.
“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 Del. Elizabeth Guzman, who wrote the bill.
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.
What the Data Shows
D.C. announced 101 more cases of COVID-19. Four more people died, including a 62-year-old man. The seven-day rolling average of new cases decreased to 161 on Monday.
Maryland announced 903 more cases of the virus and 23 more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new cases dropped to 1,274. Hospitalizations rose slightly to 1,413.
Virginia announced 1,257 more cases of COVID-19 and 34 more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new cases decreased by more than 100 cases. Hospitalizations in Virginia dropped below 2,000 for the first time in nearly two months.
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
- The first case of a COVID-19 variant from South Africa has been diagnosed in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said Friday.
- 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.
- 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 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.