The number of new coronavirus cases diagnosed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia daily continues to decline, but the figures are still far higher than they were during surges over the summer.
Maryland's numbers are similar to where they were around Veterans Day; D.C.'s are on-par with mid-November and Virginia's are similar to the beginning of December.
Here's what to know about the fight against COVID-19 in the D.C. area.
Back-to-School Plans Released by Arlington and Montgomery Districts
Students at Arlington County Public Schools will return to the classroom for hybrid and concurrent learning options starting in March, the school board announced.
Pre-K through second grade and special education classes return on March 2. Third through sixth grade and ninth grade will return on March 9. Seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th through 12th grades will return to the classroom on March 16.
Some students will be in the concurrent learning and others in the hybrid model.
In some scenarios, a teacher may have a few kids in the classroom while the remainder of the class is virtual, watching through a camera. In other concurrent learning classes, the teacher may be at home too.
Montgomery County Public Schools also laid out its back-to-school timeline on Tuesday.
Some special education, career and technical students will return on March 1. Kindergarten through third grade is set to return on March 15.
By April 6, Pre-K, fourth through sixth grade and 12th grade will go back to the classroom. On April 9, eighth, ninth and 11th grade return. And finally, by April 26, seventh-graders and 10th-graders go back to school.
When students do go back, some will go four days a week while others rotate – one week at school, one week at home.
Teachers may have students both in the classroom and virtually.
CVS to Offer COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments in DC Area
CVS pharmacies have begun offering appointments to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Virginia and soon are expected to offer scheduling in Maryland, too.
CVS tells NBC Washington they will be offering the COVID-19 vaccines 18 Maryland stores and 36 in Virginia.
Previously, CVS said it will be offering the immunizations in 28 different stores but none of them in Northern Virginia.
That now has changed. CVS says starting next week, the vaccine will be available at pharmacies in areas including Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Gainesville, Warrenton and Winchester.
Registrations will open up when pharmacies have their doses and are prepared to book appointments.
You can check the vaccine portal at CVS.com, using the CVS app or if you’re offline, calling 1-800-746-7287.
An important reminder: You will only be able to get an appointment if you're part of qualifying groups, such as certain essential workers and people over the age of 65.
Montgomery County to Allow Indoor Dining, Acknowledges Vaccine Administration Problems
The Montgomery County Council has voted to allow indoor dining starting on Sunday, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Restaurants could only seat customers up to 25% of capacity and there’s a 90-minute time limit, under the executive order endorsed Tuesday. The changes will go into effect 7 a.m. Sunday.
Meanwhile, Montgomery County's push to get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of more residents continues to run into problems.
During a virtual briefing, county leaders said their weekly allotment from the state dropped by nearly 1,000 doses from the week before — and there was no explanation for the decrease.
In addition, the online registration system remains challenging.
“The current registration system is immensely frustrating,” Montgomery County Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz said. “I think it’s leading to inefficiency, it’s leading to inequity and it’s leading to confusion and chaos out within the community.”
People 65 and older are eligible to get their shots in the state of Maryland.
But, Montgomery County is still only vaccinating residents 75 and older, along with other people in the first tiers.
Fauci Encourages Prince Georgians to Get Shots
Doctor Anthony Fauci is encouraging everyone in Prince George's County to get the shot.
Joining the county’s “Proud to Be Protected” campaign, Fauci held a webinar with county residents Monday to encourage confidence in the vaccine.
Fauci acknowledged concerns Black Americans have about vaccinations, but said modern safeguards protect recipients.
“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,” Fauci said, referencing an unethical government study on Black soldiers and how a cancer patient’s cells were taken for research without her consent.
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.
DC Brings Vaccination Effort to Church
The effort to get more African Americans vaccinated is ramping up in the District and Mayor Muriel Bowser's office said that the city is teaming up with local churches to help.
Starting Thursday, the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church will help vaccinate senior citizens.
It's part of a new pilot program to make some D.C. churches into vaccination sites.
D.C.'s Health Director says churches provide a good opportunity to reach communities of color.
“Places of worship have had the ability to speak to communities of color,” Nesbitt said. “So, engaging them and including them on our vaccine confidence effort was a natural fit.” The city says they may expand to more churches in the future.
What the Data Shows
The District reported 145 additional coronavirus cases and five more deaths. Maryland had 976 new cases and 41 additional deaths. Virginia recorded 2,343 new infections and 58 lives lost.
The seven-day averages throughout the region rose slightly after weeks of consistent decline.
In D.C. the seven-day average rose by just two cases to 163 – still about half as many cases reported daily just one month ago.
Maryland’s seven-day average rose by 10 cases to 1,284. Virginia’s average rose by 73 cases to 2,378 on Tuesday.
Hospitalizations are up to 241 in D.C., down to 1,377 in Maryland and up to 1,997 in Virginia.
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.
- Montgomery County plans to allow indoor dining again starting Feb. 14.
- 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.