As coronavirus cases surge, Christmas in the DC region looks different for many

The coronavirus remains a major concern in the D.C. area this Christmas for both first responders and those who had plans to visit their families.

In the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases that has made D.C. one of the biggest hot spots in the country, some are rethinking holiday plans.

Chris Jennison of Silver Spring, Maryland, said he found out earlier in the week that some parents at the day care his children go to tested positive for the coronavirus.


“I tested positive on two different tests,” Jennison said.

His kids and his wife remained negative, but that put their big Christmas plans in limbo.

“Luckily, we have a basement, where I could quarantine,” Jennison said.

Now, after two negative tests, they canceled seeing extended family and are shifting the holiday to celebrate with their kids.

Christmas Day is now Christmas Eve. And Christmas is on Sunday for their family.

“So we told our kids that today was Christmas Eve so that we can spend the time together, do traditions, bake cookies for Santa, have the elf bring pajamas, things like that so that we can do all that and then wake up for Christmas tomorrow,” Jennison said.

Luis Garcia of Jefferson, Maryland, in Frederick County, said his family came back from a trip on Monday, and after being unable to find tests, they changed their plans because they didn’t want to risk getting anyone sick.

“We thought, you know, it’s probably best just to stay home this Christmas,” Garcia said.

So they canceled their family Christmas get together with his in-laws.

“It’s just better to be safe than sorry,” Garcia said.

The week leading up to Christmas has been a busy one for local emergency rooms. One D.C.-area physician said those working this Christmas are just trying to keep everyone healthy.

“Like many others, I too hoped that we would be looking at COVID in the rearview mirror at this point,” said Dr. Matthew Levy, associate professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an emergency physician in the emergency department at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

But Levy said that’s not the case this holiday.

“It’s not only still very much in the forefront, it looks as though we are in the peak of an unprecedented surge of patients,” he said.

Levy was working in the emergency department on Christmas and said they’re doing their best to stay ahead of the surge of patients they are seeing with the coronavirus.

“It has been a very, very busy week in most emergency departments, past several weeks actually, around the country,” Levy said.

But he said it’s part of the job.

“We need to all be a unified front and to work together right now.”

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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