Saturday, January 16, 2021

Coronavirus caseload average sets another record in Washington region

Jan 08. 2021
Registered Nurse Maryanne Morgan, left, gives a shot to Susan Dodge, a midwife, right, as Montgomery County administered 4,000 doses on Dec. 30. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Bill O'Leary.
Registered Nurse Maryanne Morgan, left, gives a shot to Susan Dodge, a midwife, right, as Montgomery County administered 4,000 doses on Dec. 30. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Bill O'Leary.
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By The Washington Post · Rachel Chason, Jenna Portnoy

WASHINGTON - The number of new coronavirus infections continued to rise Thursday across the region as the number of recent daily cases set a record.

The District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia added 8,617 new daily cases - the third most in a day since the start of the pandemic - sending the seven-day average soaring to 7,725. It's the eighth consecutive day the recent average has risen across the region.

Compared to last week, the average of new daily cases is up 19% in D.C., 21% in Maryland and 29% in Virginia.

The increase comes as the distribution of vaccines continues across the region.

Virginia hospitals have administered more than 102,900 doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the three weeks since shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccinations arrived in the state, according to the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association. Starting with the first shipments to Virginia in mid-December, the state's 67 hospitals have received more than 269,000 doses, the association reported Thursday.

The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart, while the Moderna vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart. Hospitals already have begun administering some of the 72,150 doses of the Pfizer vaccine they received Dec. 31.

"It is important to understand that in addition to responding to the current covid-19 surge, Virginia hospitals are also leading the way on a complex vaccination process that involves many moving pieces," Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association President and CEO Sean Connaughton said.

The process includes coordination of temperature-controlled shipment and delivery of the vaccine, storage in ultracold conditions, redistribution to other health-care facilities and scheduling vaccination clinics.

In Virginia, three groups are responsible for vaccinating the public: Hospitals give the vaccine to front-line clinicians at greatest risk of exposure before vaccinating other health care professionals. CVS and Walgreens pharmacies are coordinating vaccinations for staffers and residences of long-term-care facilities. The Virginia Department of Health and local health districts, with help from hospitals, are overseeing vaccinations for other health professionals.

In Maryland, 98,536 people had received the first dose of the vaccine as of Thursday, according to that state's vaccine distribution portal.

In D.C., 16,989 vaccine doses have been administered. The city's health department reports that 40,075 doses have been delivered to health-care providers.

D.C. added 252 new infections Thursday, Maryland had 2,745 new cases and Virginia added 4,728. D.C. reported two new deaths, Virginia reported 49 and Maryland had 41.

The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus ticked upward in D.C. and Virginia on Thursday, with 278 people hospitalized in D.C. and 3,000 in Virginia. Maryland had 1,834 people hospitalized Thursday, down slightly from 1,862 a day earlier.

The Washington suburbs continue to be among the hardest-hit jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, with Prince George's County, by far, leading the state in the total number of reported coronavirus cases, including 3,190 in the past seven days. Montgomery County, Maryland's most populous jurisdiction, has added 3,057 in the past seven days.

When adjusted for population, Prince George's is third among Maryland jurisdictions in terms of cases per 100,000 residents, behind Alleghany and Somerset counties, while Montgomery County is 10th.

In Virginia, Fairfax County has reported the most cases in Virginia since the start of the pandemic, with 3,258 infections in the past seven days.

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