Maryland's governor flagged progress in the fight against COVID-19.
The number of people with the virus who were hospitalized dropped below 1,000 for the first time since mid-November, Gov. Larry Hogan’s office said and the data shows. As of Sunday, 973 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized.
State data for Sunday showed 618 new cases and 18 more deaths. But the governor said the numbers are trending in the right direction.
“Our vaccination rate is rising, our hospitalizations and key metrics are all declining, and with each day we are moving one step closer to eliminating and eradicating this pandemic,” Hogan said in a statement. “This is more good news, but we need to remain vigilant, and keep doing the things that keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe.”
More than 1 million vaccine doses have been administered in the state, representing more than 97% of all first doses received from the federal government. An average of more than 27,000 people are being vaccinated every day.
Touring a Pfizer manufacturing plant in Michigan, President Joe Biden says the U.S. is currently on track to vaccinate all Americans who want the shot by summer.
Washington Taps Pastors to Overcome Racial Divide on Vaccine
Health officials in D.C. are hoping Black religious leaders will serve as community influencers to overcome what officials say is a persistent vaccine reluctance in the Black community.
Black residents make up a little under half of Washington’s population, but constitute nearly three-fourths of the city's COVID-19 deaths. D.C. is now offering vaccinations to residents over age 65, but numbers show that seniors in the poorest and Blackest parts of Washington are lagging behind.
Officials partially blame historic distrust of the medical establishment, especially among Black seniors, who vividly remember medical exploitation horrors such as the Tuskegee syphilis study, where hundreds of impoverished rural Black men suffered syphilis effects with minimal treatment for decades as part of the medical study.
“We know we need to focus on Black and brown communities,” Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the director of the district's health department, said earlier this month. "Let’s not give up on communities of color being interested in the vaccine. Let’s continue to answer their questions. Let’s continue to be very thoughtful in how we answer their questions.”
Vaccine Outreach in Hyattsville
The Maryland Department of Health brought its mobile unit to Prince George's County as part of their GoVAX outreach campaign.
The truck has informational banners on it and broadcasts prevention and vaccination messages in Spanish and English.
Volunteers will also distribute flyers and provide free face masks, starting in the Hyattsville zip code 20783.
Dr. Mark Martin, the Deputy Director of the MDH Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, said people would fan out in the community to lay the groundwork now to convince people to get shots once they are available.
“The Maryland Department of Health is working really hard, day and night, literally, to basically get these doses in arms,” he said. “And to push the messaging to really deal with this hesitancy issue, OK, which existed by the way before COVID.”
Northern Virginia continues to open its schools for in-person learning, but some parents say their students' needs are different. News4's Drew Wilder reports on parents weighing their options.
Walgreens to Expand Vaccinations in Virginia
Walgreens will begin sending vaccines to some of its Virginia locations next week.
Starting Thursday, Walgreens will get 480,000 weekly doses as part of the federal pharmacy program. It’s unclear exactly how many of those will go to Virginia or when appointments can be booked at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine. Select stores in Maryland and West Virginia have already been giving out the vaccine.
What the Data Shows
D.C. announced 95 more cases and the death of one person, a woman who was 59 years old.
Maryland announced 618 more cases. Eighteen more people died.
Virginia announced 1,658 more cases and 122 more deaths.
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
Local Coronavirus Headlines
- The number of coronavirus vaccine shots that have been given in Virginia is ticking up, but the state is still falling short of its desired inoculation rate because too few vaccines are coming in, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
- More people are eligible for vaccinations in D.C., including grocery store workers.
- NBC News is making finding information on when, how and where to obtain your coronavirus vaccination easier with its Plan Your Vaccine website.
- Medical schools across the country report a spike in applications, especially from students of color. At Georgetown University’s medical school, applications are up 24% overall and 40% from underrepresented minorities. The University of Maryland along with Howard University have also seen a rising number of applicants.
- The Maryland General Assembly has passed a pandemic relief measure that will deliver more than $1 billion in tax relief and economic stimulus for low-income families and small businesses.
- The first case of a COVID-19 variant from South Africa was diagnosed in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam said.
- 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 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.
- 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.
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.