Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on March 9

Here's what to know about the coronavirus data, resources and reopenings for D.C., Maryland and Virginia

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What the Data Shows

After weeks of consistent decreases in cases and hospitalizations, the latest data shows our region’s cases and hospitalizations are up Tuesday, indicating our winning streak may be coming to an end.

Still, vaccinations continue to ramp up, providing a hopeful note. More than 10% of the population of Maryland and Virginia are now fully vaccinated. D.C. is trailing behind with 5.4% of residents fully vaccinated and 11.2% fully or partially vaccinated.

D.C. reported 331 new cases on Tuesday, the largest single-day increase in nearly two months. One person lost their life. The seven-day average increased by 35 cases to 163.

Maryland reported 631 additional cases and 25 deaths. Maryland’s seven-day average rose by 23 cases to 785. Hospitalizations in the state (792) remain low.

Virginia reported 1,714 new infections – the largest 24-hour increase in cases in weeks – and 45 deaths on Tuesday. The state’s seven-day average rose by 124 cases to 1,135. Hospitalizations are also up slightly, but the positivity rate is still falling.

Local Coronavirus Headlines

Montgomery County Cautious About Lifting Restrictions

Montgomery County's health officer Dr. Travis Gayles briefed the council on pandemic developments.

He says case numbers are down, but Maryland is one of only two states that have detected all three variants of the virus.

The county's approach to lifting restrictions remains very cautious even as more people are vaccinated, Gayles says.

The CDC released long-awaited guidelines on Monday that explain how people can change their behavior once they are vaccinated — for example, by opening the door to small group gatherings with other vaccinated people or those at low risk. Former Associate FDA Commissioner Peter Pitts joined LX News to explain the new guidance and why embracing the vaccine is the best way to get our country back to normal.

“We do have a ways to go before we can feel comfortable that we are achieving high enough levels of protection throughout our community to be able to open up more broadly and more successfully,” Gayles said.

Gayles says the Johnson & Johnson vaccine helped with supply but it is expected to be at least two weeks before the county gets more of those shots.

The Montgomery County Council also said it will move forward with plans for a mass vaccination site at Montgomery College in Germantown but needs state authorization and more vaccines to make it work.

More Northern Virginia Students Return to Classrooms

More students have headed back into the classroom in Northern Virginia.

Alexandria City Public Schools welcomed back students in grades six through 12 receiving special education and students who are in the Newcomer English Learner program. 

In Arlington, students in grades third through fifth plus sixth and ninth grade students went for in-person learning, as well as all students enrolled in some special education programs.

News4's Shomari Stone reports on how a school district and doctor suggest residents take precautions against COVID-19 ahead of the spring season.

New Testing Option in Arlington

Arlington County is partnering with Quest Diagnostics to offer a free COVID-19 mobile testing service.

It opens Tuesday at the testing site along North Quincy Street. It’ll operate there for two weeks, before rotating to different locations in the county.

The tests are completely free and do not require an appointment.

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Key Charts and Graphs

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.

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.

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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