Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Jan. 26

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

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As President Joe Biden raises expectations for how many people will be vaccinated within his first 100 days in office, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are struggling to keep up with demand.

Many people have felt left behind by how local health departments are organizing the rollout. In other cases, people are skipping the lines to get vaccines.

New mass COVID-19 vaccination sites are set to open across Maryland in February, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced at a press conference on Tuesday. 

Six Flags America in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore Convention Center will be among the first six mass vaccination sites in the state, due to open to the public by Feb. 5, Hogan said. M&T Bank Stadium will also be set up as a mass vaccination site when the state can secure higher allocations of vaccine. 

National Guard troops who were deployed to D.C. during the presidential inauguration will be reassigned to help "plan, build and launch" the mass vaccination sites.

Additionally, 22 Giant locations, 3 Martin’s locations, and 10 Walmart locations throughout Maryland have all begun offering vaccinations this week. Starting next week, 16 Safeway and Rite Aid locations in the state will begin offering vaccinations. 

Hogan also provided some updates about the delays in coronavirus vaccinations. Currently, Maryland is only allocated roughly 10,000 doses per day for the 2 million people who fall within the Phase 1 category.

Maryland will need a total of 4 million doses to complete Phase 1 (with two doses per person required for Moderna and Pfizer vaccines). There is currently a remaining supply of 110,000 first doses available, nearly all of which are already “scheduled and spoken for,” Hogan said. 

At the current rate of 10,000 daily allocated doses, it would take 400 days – over a year – for 4 million doses to be allocated to Marylanders in Phase 1 alone.

“The plain truth is, that for at least the near future, we fully expect the demand for vaccines will continue to far exceed the supply that will be available to us,” Gov. Hogan said.

Twelve million doses will be needed for every Marylander to be vaccinated. Maryland is currently in Phase 1C.

Some Georgetown University medical students who were not eligible for shots received COVID-19 vaccines anyway, a university spokesperson confirmed Monday.

Those students don’t work in a health care setting and were not granted permission by the school, MedStar Health or MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, the spokesperson said.

Medical students who meet face-to-face with patients and are in their third and fourth years are eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine.

Georgetown didn’t say how the ineligible students received the shots but said the school of medicine “takes violations of professionalism extremely seriously” and will take appropriate action.

People age 65 and older in Maryland can now register to get the COVID vaccine. But while the number of people eligible is growing, the supply is lagging.

Montgomery County leaders say inadequate supply and logistic issues are partly to blame.

Shoulder injuries have been from the Federal Vaccine Compensation Program making it much harder to get compensated for the most common vaccine injury. Investigative Reporter Jodie Fleischer has details on the impact it could have.

Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles receives a “fraction” of the vaccine doses that he requests weekly, Montgomery County Council President Tom Hucker said.

Gayles said he only found out Saturday night how many doses were coming to the county this week, making it difficult to set up vaccination sites and get that information out to the public.

 “Right now, we are working on a week to week basis,” he said.

As D.C. tries to roll out vaccines to new groups — particularly teachers — other who work with youth are concerned they’re being left out.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Washington said it was disappointed last week to learn that private school teachers weren’t being prioritized the same as public and charter school educators.

Almost a year after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci joined LX News to describe the process of developing the first effective vaccines for the virus — and the breakthrough moment that still makes him cry.

Most of D.C.’s Catholic schools have been open since fall. But initial city plans emphasized outreach to public and charter school teachers. Now, private school leaders are expecting new information from DC Health.

“While we still do not know a specific timeline, we are optimistic that DC health now has a plan for our school employees,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

The District also responded to child care workers who have pushed not to be left behind in the vaccination effort.

DC Health asked licensed child care facilities to submit the names and email addresses of in-person staff by noon Thursday. The city plans to reach out to eligible workers to set up vaccination appointments in February.

Day care teachers and providers are still in the 1b category for receiving the vaccine, but they were moved down within that category, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced last week, citing supply issues.

Ward 4 Council Member Janeese Lewis George said that “delaying vaccinations for child care workers any longer undermines fairness, equity and public health.”

Inova Health canceled thousands of vaccination appointments that were scheduled for Tuesday, including for Fairfax County Public Schools teachers.

Supply issues were blamed for the canceled appointments.

What the Data Shows

The D.C. region reported 150 lives lost to COVID-19 on Tuesday — the largest jump in coronavirus deaths ever reported.

Despite this somber news, official health data continues to indicate that new infections are decreasing.

D.C. reported 195 new cases and nine lives lost on Tuesday. In Maryland, 1,482 new cases were reported, and 62 people died. Virginia recorded 3,367 additional cases and 79 deaths.

Seven-day averages in the region declined across the board. D.C.’s average dropped by four cases to 206. Maryland’s seven-day average has decreased for two weeks straight as of Tuesday, when it hit 2,062. Virginia’s seven-day average is at 3,300 – the eighth consecutive day of a decreasing case trend.

The test positivity rate in D.C. hit 5% on Tuesday, falling in line with CDC recommendations, but still two percentage points short of D.C.’s goal rate. In Maryland, the positivity rate is down to 6.64%. In Virginia, it’s down to 12.5%.

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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