coronavirus DMV Daily Update

Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Jan. 30

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

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Maryland health officials have confirmed the state's first case of COVID-19 caused by the new variant first identified in South Africa, Governor Larry Hogan announced Saturday.

The new case was identified in an adult living in the Baltimore metro region with no international travel history, "making community transmission likely," officials say. Contact tracing is underway.

Vaccinations for D.C.-area teachers began this week. So far, more than 1,130 D.C. public school teachers and staff and 802 charter school teachers and staff have been vaccinated with their first dose.

Starting Monday, Feb. 1, child care providers and independent school teachers and staff in D.C. will be eligible to book a vaccination appointment as well.

About 1,400 appointments will be made available for the first week of February and 900 appointments for each subsequent week.

D.C. Health and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) began collecting contact information for the affected groups earlier this week, officials announced.

The contact information will be used to send instructions with next steps to eligible teachers and child care workers.

Public school teachers in Prince George's County started receiving their vaccinations Saturday at the county's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. News4's Derrick Ward reports.

COVID-19 vaccine appointments scheduled in Prince George's County will be canceled for Monday, Feb. 1, due to expected inclement weather, officials announced.

"Individuals who have an appointment scheduled for Monday will receive an email with instructions on how to reschedule their appointment," the county's notice said.

Those who have had their appointments canceled will be able to reschedule for later in the week.

West Virginia is one of the national leaders in its ability to distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccinations by taking a unique approach: Rather than using a federal program that relies on national chains, they turned to 250 local pharmacies instead.

The state ranks first in its percentage of vaccines used, with almost 10 percent of residents having received their first shot.

Melvin Hemerick, the owner of Martinsburg Pharmacy, has joined dozens of other pharmacists across West Virginia in holding vaccination clinics.

The clinic focuses on school employees age 50 and older, since the pharmacists have already finished administering first and second shots at all the long-term care centers.

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey traveled to Martinsburg, West Virginia to find out why the state's vaccination strategy is working so well.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that masks will be required on all public transportation beginning Monday night.

The mandate issued by CDC division director Martin S. Cetron was made after President Joe Biden issued an executive order Jan. 21 that called for mask-wearing on all forms of public transit.

The mandate will apply to all public commercial transportation, including planes, trains, boats, buses, air terminals, train stations, subways and subway stations, seaports, ferries, taxis, ride-hail vehicles and bus depots.

As more people get vaccinated, there’s also news Friday that gives hope for more vaccines in the near future.

Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is 66% effective, according to newly released data. That’s less effective than the vaccines currently being administered, but it could still be a game-changer.

The Johnson & Johnson shot only requires one dose and can be stored for three months without ultra-cold storage. It’s also proven effective at protecting against severe disease, which meant fewer hospital stays, and intensive care unit admissions and deaths, the company said.

NIAID Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci explains why the results of a study into the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are encouraging even when comparing them to Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines which had a higher efficacy rate.

Montgomery County Delays School Reopening

Montgomery County Public Schools are trying to figure out how to get kids back in the classroom.

The school board had originally planned to have students return Monday, but because of a surge in COVID-19 cases, the board pushed reopening back to March 15.

Last week, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he wanted schools reopened by March 1st.

The MCPS board is still exploring having some kids back by then, then the majority would come back two weeks later.

Metro Employee Dies of COVID-19

Metro lost a fourth employee to the coronavirus as a bus operator passed away after being hospitalized.

Metro has several safety measures in place, including asking riders to wear masks. But during a virtual meeting Thursday, some board members said they continue to get complaints about riders note wearing masks.

Officials say more policing may be needed.

What the Data Shows

Seven-day averages of new cases and hospitalizations in Maryland are continuing on a weeks-long downward trend today. Meanwhile, cases in Virginia and D.C. continue to show signs of leveling off.

Maryland’s seven-day average decreased to 1,917 new cases on Saturday. The state counted 1,560 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, the lowest number since November.

Maryland reported 2,097 new cases and 31 new deaths on Saturday.

In Virginia, 2,955 new cases and 40 deaths were reported on Saturday. Virginia’s hospitalizations declined for the fifth consecutive day – hospitalizations are at 2,339.

Virginia's seven-day average decreased to 3,406 cases.

D.C. reported 248 new cases and two deaths on Saturday. The District's seven-day average increased by 10 cases to 226.

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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