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Coronavirus in DC, Maryland, Virginia: What to Know on Jan. 13

NBC Washington D.C. logo NBC Washington D.C. 1/13/2021 NBC Washington Staff
People ride the bus with masks to combat Covid-19 January 12, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Walking through central Washington, it is difficult to distinguish between those buildings boarded up due to pandemic closures, and those boarded up due to violent riots. The capital of the United States is known for its grand vistas, historical monuments and crowds of tourists, but the city has radically changed in the last year. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) © Provided by NBC Washington D.C.

People ride the bus with masks to combat Covid-19 January 12, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Walking through central Washington, it is difficult to distinguish between those buildings boarded up due to pandemic closures, and those boarded up due to violent riots.
The capital of the United States is known for its grand vistas, historical monuments and crowds of tourists, but the city has radically changed in the last year. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

As concerns about the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants from around the globe rise, the U.S. will start requiring inbound international travelers to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before flying.

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The effort could take effect as soon as Jan. 26, according to a person familiar with the plans.

On Tuesday, Maryland reported its first two cases of the U.K. variant of COVID-19, Gov. Hogan announced at a press conference. The two individuals are a married couple who reside in Anne Arundel County. One of the patients had recently returned from traveling abroad, he said. 

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Both are under the age of 65, and neither has been hospitalized. The couple also has two children and the entire family is quarantining together, Gov. Hogan said. 

Early analysis suggested the U.K. strain may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant that was circulating in the country, but it has not shown to cause more severe illness or increased risk of death, according to the governor’s office.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's proposed economic relief package will face the state legislature for approval on Wednesday.

If passed, Hogan said the direct payments of $750 for qualifying families and $450 for qualifying individuals will be sent out "immediately," he announced at a press conference Monday.

About 400,000 Marylanders in need are eligible and no applications would be necessary to receive the funding.

The economic relief act would provide more than $1 billion in immediate and targeted financial relief for families, unemployed Marylanders and small businesses that are suffering financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County's Board of Education voted to delay students' return to in-person classes from Feb. 1 to March 15.

The county will monitor health metrics to ensure that guidelines are met before students can safely return to the classroom, officials announced.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser late Monday extended the city’s indoor dining restrictions until Jan. 22, days after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Bowser’s new order extends restrictions that were put into place before Christmas. They were introduced to help limit community spread of the coronavirus.

Nearly 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the country as of Monday morning, according to the CDC. Though the pace appears to be improving, administered vaccine doses still represent only about a third of total doses distributed around the U.S. so far.

The Trump administration on Tuesday issued new guidelines that expand coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone age 65 and older as well as to those with comorbid conditions, like diabetes, in order to speed up the pace of inoculations.

Hogan said the speed of vaccinations in Maryland, a cause of serious concern and criticism two weeks ago, has picked up and now exceeds the pace at which the federal government is shipping doses to the state.

The governor said Maryland doesn’t yet have nearly enough vaccine doses to cover all seniors.

In the District, seniors are eligible to receive their shots. To be eligible, you need to live in D.C., and be at least 65 years old.

All of the available vaccination appointments (6,700) for this week have already been filled, according to D.C.'s sign up portal. You can sign up at the link to receive an alert via text message or email when more appointments become available.

Northern Virginia continues to vaccinate individuals within Group 1b – including people over the age of 75, teachers, police and firefighters, postal workers, transit workers, and grocery employees.

In Phase 1C, another 2.5 million Virginians who are considered frontline essential workers would be eligible for vaccinations. Workers in those categories include housing construction, food service and transportation and logistics workers.

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.

When Could I Get the Vaccine?

Answer the questions to calculate your risk profile and see where you fall in your county's and state's vaccine lineup. This estimate is based on a combination of vaccine rollout recommendations from the CDC and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group, see this methodology.

Source: the Vaccine Allocation Planner for COVID-19 by Ariadne Labs and the Surgo Foundation

Interactive by Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Three members of the House have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19, including Rep. Brad Schneider, of Illinois, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, of New Jersey, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, of Washington – all Democrats.

"Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask." Schneider said, pointing to a video posted online by Punchbowl News that shows several House Republicans refusing to wear masks while sheltering in an undisclosed location.

A press release from Coleman's office on Monday also noted that “a number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.”

What the Data Shows

D.C. announced 177 new cases of COVID-19 and an additional six deaths.

In Maryland, 2,516 new cases and 37 deaths were reported. In Virginia, 3,265 new COVID-19 cases and 59 deaths were counted.

The seven-day rolling average of new cases declined for the first time in days. D.C.'s average dropped from 322 to 303 on Wednesday. In Maryland, the seven-day average dropped from 3,228 to 3,138. In Virginia, average cases dropped from 3,792 to 3,731.

As of Wednesday, 2,809 patients confirmed positive for COVID-19 are hospitalized in Virginia, a significant drop from Tuesday. In Maryland, 1,929 patients are hospitalized. D.C. reported 293 hospitalizations.

Test positivity rates have been declining for the past few days as well, indicating the recent surge caused by holiday gatherings may have passed it's peak.

Virginia's positivity rate is down to 15.9% on Wednesday following a high of 17.2% on Jan. 3. D.C.'s positivity rate is at 6.5% and Maryland's rate is at 8.53%.

Local Coronavirus Headlines

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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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