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DC coronavirus update: Mayor Bowser urges residents to not delay needed medical care during pandemic

D.C. cases have been on an upward trend, leading the mayor to issue a mandatory travel order.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is asking residents to continue going to their scheduled doctor's appointment despite concerns surrounding health centers during the pandemic. Hospitals are safe, ready, and waiting to help, officials said. 

Bowser is also urging parents to take their children to the doctor to make sure that they are up to date with vaccinations although they will be returning to school virtually.

District leaders want students to be ready to enter in an in-person learning environment, Bowser said.

“One pandemic is enough and we do not want an epidemic in our pandemic," said Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt with D.C. Department of Public Health.

For a list of D.C. school-based health centers, click here.

D.C. Public Schools will move to all-virtual learning starting Aug. 31 until November 6, D.C. education officials announced at a news conference on Thursday.

The decision to move to a virtual learning scenario came after District leaders in conjunction with D.C. Health Department analyzed recent COVID-19 data that suggested that it was the best decision to keep students safe during the pandemic.

The school system also asked families and staff members to fill out a survey and received about 17,000 responses regarding the reopening of schools.

On Wednesday, Dr. Nesbitt said that the District would like to see a positivity rate of under 5% before moving into Phase 3. Previously, the goal was set at 10%. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser discussed the District's mask order, saying businesses should "absolutely" call the police on customers who don't wear masks. 

RELATED: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser says businesses should call police on customers who don't wear masks

Bowser signed a new order that requires people to self-quarantine after non-essential travel to high-risk states. The order will be effective until October 9.

RELATED: If you are traveling to DC from these states you must self-quarantine for 2 weeks

Anyone traveling to the District from a high-risk state will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The order does not apply to neighboring states such as Virginia and Maryland. 

A comprehensive list of high-risk areas will be made available and updated every two weeks on the city health website.

Bowser and city leaders announced new metrics that will monitor the percent of positive cases associated with quarantine contact.

The city is activating a new contact trace force home visit team program next week that will focus on high-risk populations along with sharing COVID-19 resources with residents.

D.C. has been on a moderate upward trend in new cases for a few weeks.

The mayor said the state of emergency, set to expire at the end of the month will likely be extended into October, but the extension has not been made official yet.

Bowser announced that D.C. Health is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to learn more about the spread of COVID-19 in our area. 850 randomly selected households will be contacted to participate in the invite-only antibody testing.

Large gatherings are still considered a high-risk activity and leaders are encouraging residents to seek guidance for hosting gatherings and attending events on the city website.

City guidance suggests that people hosting gatherings should have a guest list in case of contact tracing, limit the use of shared items, use proper hygiene, and consider providing cleaning supplies for guests.

Bowser said outdoor activities are preferred over indoor activities, but residents should be reminded that the virus can still be spread outdoors and remains prominent in the region.

Bowser issued new mask guidance requiring most people to wear a mask while they are in public spaces.

Bowser also said the District has been seeing an increase in percent positivity of coronavirus tests on people under 40, as well as the percentage of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from that age group.

RELATED: Phase 2 of reopening for DC starts Monday. Here's what's changing

Key Facts 

  • D.C. In Phase 2 of reopening
  • D.C. Public Schools will be all-virtual starting Aug. 31 until Nov. 6
  • Travel order in effect until October 9
  • Schools to continue online learning only through the end of the school year
  • Non-essential D.C. government workers will run on a modified telework posture

DCPS Starts All-Virtual Learning Aug. 31

D.C. Public Schools will be all-virtual starting on Aug. 31, D.C. Mayor Murial Bowser announced Thursday.

Education officials said they designed virtual and online schedules depending on ages and grade levels. The majority of independent learning time will be on Wednesday and virtual learning will be live lessons online during the week. Teachers will be conducting learning checks to monitor and understand gaps in learning. And attendance will be tracked and taken during this learning scenario, officials said.

Bowser announced the start date during a May 22 press conference, saying that her and education leaders have surveyed a wide range of options for getting students in the nation's capital back in the classroom.

"It's not an on-and-off switch. We will not be able to go back to life as we enjoyed in February," Bowser said during a May 21 briefing. "But we are incrementally adding activities back in our lives, which we all miss and we are all eager to get back to."

The District is also offering online internships platforms for high school and college students planning on working with those in the Marion Barry Summer Youth Jobs Program. Summer camps in D.C. are also changing, now switching to "camp-at-home" with a focus on digital activities and virtual meetings. The city has decided to extend summer youth programs as of Thursday, July 30.

Family engagement surveys allowed parents to write concerns and provide their scheduling preferences for the school year.

Officials said they will continue to monitor data to decide what schools will be like for Term 2 on Nov. 9.

The current stay-at-home order for the District is through June 8.

DC Reopened May 29

D.C. began Phase One of reopening after reporting 14 days of a sustained decline in coronavirus cases in the city.

Phase One includes outside dining for restaurants, businesses, retailers and more. Restaurants that want to expand their outdoor space can apply for space for curbside pick up here.

Mayor Bowser and the ReOpen D.C. Advisory Group laid out new recommendations for reopening the District, which they believe could happen as early as May 29 if there are no spikes in cases.  

During a May 21 briefing, health officials said the community spread of the virus has declined for 11 days, which is near the 14-day metric that Bowser has looked on to reopen. 

Under the first stage of reopening, barbers and hair salons are recommended to be appointment only. Restaurants would have outdoor table service only with maximum table sizes of six people or less, with buffets and outdoor and standing bars prohibited.

Parks and fields would reopen but playgrounds would still be recommended to close until later phases. Churches and other worship services would be limited at 10 people and there would be curbside services for non-essential retail vendors. 

Credit: ReOpen DC Advisory
Credit: ReOpen DC Advisory Board

The city plans to start an initiative that will donate supplies or a one-time care package to help businesses with reopening until they can supply their own safety materials. The small business startup supplies include hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning supplies. Businesses will have to request the packages through DSLBD or a local BID or Main Streets.

The District also plans to provide PPE to essential workers, D.C. government workers, health care workers, and non-essential businesses.

The city is lowering the speed limit on streets to from 25 mph to 20 mph effective Monday, June 1, in an effort to keep pedestrians safe, D.C. Mayor Bowser said during a news conference Friday after the District reopened. 

Bowser said she took the measure to keep D.C. streets safe during the pandemic and social distancing era after noticing an increase in speeding on city streets.

DDOT will begin a Slow Streets Initiative that will identify roads and limit through traffic and lower speeds in areas with heavy foot and bicycle traffic to support social distancing.

Reopening Washington, D.C. 

On May 15, Bowser shared insight into what metrics D.C. is using to determine when Phase One of reopening can begin. Those metrics include a decline in community spread, decline in community transmission, sufficient hospital capacity and sufficient tracing capacity.

Bowser said she will continue to work with health officials and the Reopen D.C. Advisory board to determine when Phase 1 can begin.

The District launched a Reopen D.C. Advisory Group comprised of city government and community leaders to monitor and guide how D.C. will reopen. The advisory group will have 12 committees focused on key areas and will be advised by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Reopen D.C. Advisory Group will be chaired by Former U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice and Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The group will also be led by six co-chairs, Bowser said.

Bowser said the city's focus will be on guiding values centered around health, prosperity and equity.

"We want to provide a sense of hope on what is on the other side of this," Bowser said.

Bowser and National Tourism leaders also shared details on the city's tourism recovery efforts following the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism leaders are planning ahead to conduct aggressive marketing as part of an initiative to promote tourism and conventions to domestic and international tourists. 

Public Health Emergency Extended

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and education officials say distance learning will continue throughout the end of the 2019-2020 school year in response to the coronavirus crisis. D.C. Public Schools and public charter schools' school year will end early on May 29.

The public health emergency is in effect to aid in flattening the curve and to save lives from the coronavirus. 

This extension applies to distance learning for D.C. schools, telework for D.C.'s non-essential employees and the stay-at-home order. Non-essential businesses are to remain closed until June 8.

She also gave additional guidance for wearing masks in the District, saying masks are required in grocery stores, hotels, taxis, ride-shares, and other private transportation, and strongly encouraged for workers and riders of public transit.

Consumer Complaints Reported To OAG

The Office of the Attorney General is analyzing several complaints from D.C. residents on consumer protection, tenant protection, the protection of vulnerable individuals, and they are working with law enforcement on public safety.

Following several complaints on evictions and increased rent, Attorney General Karl Racine announced that landlords can not evict tenants and the court is not hearing eviction cases. Racine said the city is working to resolve matters of landlords not properly sanitizing common areas as well.

The OAG has investigated 40 nuisance complaints and about 320 consumer complaints, including price gauging at local stores, according to Racine. The department has reached out to big platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and eBay to identify fraud and price gauging in the D.C. area. 

Billing concerns such as gyms, child care, city parking lot fees have also been resolved or are in the process to be resolved, Racine said.

RELATED: Washington Sports Club will no longer charge members during coronavirus pandemic

Debt collectors have been instructed to stop activity during this time. And the department is working on sending cease and desist letters to businesses that are still operating when they are not essential businesses. 

Racine said funeral home pricing has become a big concern for the department. The OAG is working closely with DCRA on how the funeral business should conduct themselves during the pandemic.

Guidance on how consumers can protect themselves will be released by the OAG. Residents with any questions on fees for services you are not permitted to access due to stay-at-home orders and the coronavirus can call 202-442-9828 or email consumer.protection@dc.gov.

Contact Tracing And Testing

The District has expanded its testing in neighborhoods and has begun offering free walk-up coronavirus testing at firehouses from 4-8 p.m.

RELATED: DC officials expand free walk-up coronavirus testing at its firehouses

D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean said the testing outside the firehouses has been going smoothly so far. They are trying to get testing results at firehouses down to 3 to 5 days.

The city has onboarded 200 contact tracers and wants an additional 100 contact trace force by June 30, Bowser said.

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the District, contact tracers will need demographic information, health information, and risk factors to track and make contact with positive cases and close contacts, officials said. These are a part of the city's phase one goal and to control and prevent the spread of the virus.

Two new testing sites will be added in the District. A new testing site on 2241 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast replaces United Medical Center's testing site as an accessible alternative. And a new walk-up testing site on 5th Street Northwest between F and G street begins operating June 1.

CVS Pharmacy will now offer drive-thru testing in several locations in the city.

D.C. now has the capacity to test 5,500 people per day, Bowser said. If residents need to get a COVID-19 test that will be allowed to get a tes

Fifty new contact tracers started their onboarding on May 26, Bowser said.

Bowser announced the city's effort to expand its contact tracing team to 200 people. Health officials said the expansion is needed because as people begin to move around in Phase 1, there will be more social contact and a need to reach out to more people. Over time, the city is looking to expand to at least 900 contact tracers as the District moves forward through the pandemic.

This comes after Bowser announced the opening of a new testing site at the University of District of Columbia and the launching of rapid testing for vulnerable facilities in the city.

The city has opened a testing site at UDC's Bertie Backus Campus, Bowser said. The site will run just like the UMC testing site and will open on Tuesdays and Thursdays for walk-through and drive-through service by appointment. For more information, residents can call 1-888-363-0333.

The city has expanded the criteria for priority coronavirus testing to grocery store workers, essential government employees, and other workers who continue to report to work in the District. 

“Every day, we have workers out in the community ensuring we have access to food and other essential products and services, and those workers are safer and so is everyone else when we know who has the virus and who has been exposed to it,” said Mayor Bowser. “We already know that testing and contact tracing will play a critical role in every stage of our response and recovery, and this expansion is one more strategy for slowing the spread, protecting workers, and saving lives.” 

D.C. Health will continue to test asymptomatic individuals with a history of exposure, those who are in high risk congregated areas, health care workers, and people over 65 to be tested.

Bowser said the city continues to focus on vulnerable populations and people with underlying conditions.

On April 30, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed hospital funding agreements in conjunction with Howard University and George Washington University to begin the development of two new hospitals in Wards 1 and 8.

Bowser announced that the effort is to curb economic and health disparities in neighborhoods east of the river. The hope is to transform and bring equity and health care access to vulnerable areas in the city. Bowser noted that African-American residents are at a disadvantage because hospitals are not evenly distributed in the city.

RELATED: Mayor Bowser announces two brand new hospitals to be built in Wards 1 & 8

The 2020 Census And Voting

D.C. officials are reminding people to fill out their 2020 Census information as it is tied to the District's federal funding and disaster relief funds for COVID-19. With stay-at-home orders in effect, 

The census can be completed online at 2020census.gov or by phone by calling 844-330-2020.

"Now is as important a time as any to complete the census," said Andrew Trueblood, Director of D.C. Office of Planning.

Councilmember Michael Bennett discussed the District's efforts to make voting safe in upcoming elections in June and November. Bennett said that voters can request a mail-in ballot online. If you do not wish to vote by mail, each ward will have two vote centers set up to vote in person, however, the vote centers will be CDC compliant, social distancing rules will remain in effect, and in-person voters will have to wear a face covering. Bennett said 20 vote centers will be open between May 22 and June 2. Unlike in elections past, voters will not have to vote in a specific precinct and can vote at any of the vote centers around the District.

Fiscal Budget Recommendation For 2021

Financial leaders said the CFO will reestimate and revisit the budget in August in the event of any changes or uncertainties.

Bowser said city leaders have been able to work the budget to avoid layoffs and gaps in city employment.  

Bowser said May 20 the proposed budget focuses on community priority, budget investment in residents while setting the city up for an efficient recovery post-pandemic. The city has lost more than $700 million in revenue as of 2020 and is reworking the 2021 budget to cover and move around the loss.

The proposed budget has schools as the top priority followed by affordable housing in the city, healthcare, and public safety, Bowser said.

Financial leaders said they've decided to allocate money to meet the demands of the pandemic with the proposed budget. This includes reopening recovery and relief, PPE, testing, and more. Leaders explained that they have utilized all of the $495 million in federal funds and still have many more things to pay for and are demanding the additional need for $755 million from the federal government.

D.C's Vulnerable Population

The District released neighborhood coronavirus data after announcing two areas in the city health officials plan to monitor for COVID-19 outbreaks.

According to D.C. Health Department data, 16th Street Heights and Columbia Heights neighborhoods in Wards 4 and 1 have the largest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the city, followed by Chinatown, Brightwood, and Logan Circle/Shaw.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reported on May 4 that Hispanics and African Americans are being disproportionately affected by the coronavirus in D.C., according to the latest health department data.

According to Bowser, the city is focusing on the increase in coronavirus illnesses in the District's 16th Street Heights and Columbia Heights neighborhoods. Those areas are known to have significant Latino and African American populations who are still working jobs considered essential.

Data from DC Health shows African Americans and Latinos are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, Bowser said. Although the city has seen few infant cases, officials noticed that almost half of infected infants have been Hispanic or Latino. About 79% of the COVID-19 deaths in the District have been black patients. Health officials plan to focus more on interventions in those areas.

The age group with the most infections in the city is 31-to-40-year-olds. Officials said 3% of cases are people 19 or younger, with 15-to-19-year-olds having the largest diagnosis among the lower age group.

Wards 2 and 3 continue to have the lowest rates of infection in the city, Bowser said.

Household transmission is now considered to be a high concern for health officials as the number of cases in congregated settings decreases.

Bowser addressed and shared updates on the city's public safety initiatives and effort to protect vulnerable populations from the coronavirus. 

The District's vulnerable populations are identified as residents in D.C. government custody: D.C. Central Detention Facility, D.C. Central Treatment Facility, Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services, St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Residents in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, including residents who are unsheltered, and residents at home in vulnerable situations -- domestic violence victims, those with intellectual disabilities, homebound residents, etc. -- were also identified as the city's vulnerable population.

After receiving a report from the Court Inspector on the conditions of D.C. jail and Department of Youth and Rehabilitation Services (DYRS), Bowser said the Department of Corrections officials are working to improve fixes from the report. She said urgent changes include PPE distribution, enforcing social distancing for residents, allowing telephonic counseling access and deploying medical volunteers to monitor staff and residents for COVID-19 in the facilities.

DYRS Director Clinton Lacy will lead the continuous effort to monitor and improve conditions, Bowser said.

RELATED: ACLU wins suit against DC Department of Corrections calling for immediate updates amid coronavirus pandemic

Although violent crimes are down by 3 percent, D.C. Police will continue to monitor social distancing in the city and will report hate crime to outreach services in partnership with Asian associations, Bowser said. The department will also handle licensing firearm use until commercial use is back up and running following the Mayor’s order.

Access To Healthy Food

D.C. is working to make sure residents have access to healthy food and other essential supplies during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Following an order that prohibits farmers' markets from operating without a waiver, and details stricter social distancing protocols for grocery stores, Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of her administration spoke about what the District is doing to address the needs of vulnerable people in the community.

Bowser also provided resources during her news conference on April 13. She said homebound people who need assistance with food or essential services can call the hotline at 1-888-349-8323, or visit the website here for help.

Students who need to go to school for meals, including and families who need grocery items can visit the online resources here for locations. Families asking for groceries at the school sites receive it on a first-come-first-serve basis. The grocery items include shelf-stable items, produce and other items.

 Additionally, the mayor ordered that all grocery store patrons are required to wear a mask or face covering when shopping.

DC Central Detention Facility

On April 13, Bowser announced the first inmate death -- a 51-year-old man.

RELATED: DC Central Detention Facility records first inmate death after COVID-19 diagnosis

Deon Crowell passed away on April 13 after being hospitalized from COVID-19, DOC officials confirm. He was taken from the Correctional Treatment Facility and hospitalized on April 7, after testing positive for COVID-19 and experiencing respiratory issues. His next-of-kin were notified of his passing by the DOC Chaplain.

Several inmates at the D.C. detention facility tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Coronavirus cases at DOC triple in one week

About 45 inmates were released from the D.C. detention center on strict guidelines and discretion with the Department of Correction and the D.C. government. Also, 25 more inmates are expected to be released.

RELATED: 'Very unsanitary and nasty' | Man released from DC jail because of coronavirus pandemic shares experience

Faith Leaders Address Safe Worship

Faith gatherings remain prohibited under the stay-at-home order.

"All of these losses represent people who were loved and will be missed dearly," Bowser said.

"Many of our traditions are on hold, but our faith is not," Bowser said.

Congregations throughout D.C. have moved services online to adhere to social distancing rules.

Wharf Fish Market Shut Down

Mayor Muriel Bowser shut down the fish markets at The Wharf after crowds of people on April 4 were not practicing social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"We see a level of infection in our city that if we are not strict in our social distancing that we will see (community transmission and death increase)," Bowser said

The Wharf markets and several other farmers' markets re-opened on Saturday, April 11, with new rules and safety regulations in place.

RELATED: Wharf fish markets, several farmers' markets reopen with approved waivers

RELATED: DC Fish Market unveils new social distance plan: no eating, no kids, no walk-ups

RELATED: DC mayor closes Wharf fish markets after patrons fail to follow social distancing guidelines

Unemployment Numbers and Resources

D.C. Small Business Micro Grants program received 7,000 applicants and was awarded an additional $8 million to support all qualified businesses, Bowser said. The application process will continue through May 8 and award notifications will go out Wednesday.

Residents who are self-employed or have a 10-99 can now apply for unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

More than 82,000 people have filed for unemployment in D.C. in the last month as the DMV region remains in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Individuals can also apply for extended benefits that will provide funds for an additional 13 weeks.

Since March 3, the Department of Unemployment Services has paid $138 million to over 40,000 individuals. The department has also added a new emphasis on the city's Shared Work Progam in accordance with the CARES Act.

City leaders joined D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on April 8 discussed unemployment and small business resources after approving a COVID-19 Relief Bill for residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department of Employment Resources Director Unique Morris Hughes said the numbers include those who have filed for unemployment in D.C. since March 6.

There are a number of resources for those impacted by the pandemic, Bowser said. Some individuals may be eligible for food, cash, and medical assistance during this time, Bowser said. To apply, residents can fax or drop off an application or call the D.C. Service Center at 202-737-5355.

Employers in the District can apply for the Shared Work Program to avoid having to make lay-offs and to share additional resources with employees so that they can keep their job and benefits. This will allow business owners to keep their employees and prevent them from having to rehire.

Unemployment benefits have also been expanded and enhanced to meet the needs of people who were left jobless during the pandemic. To access those resources, you can go to www.does.dc.gov.

RELATED: Here's how you can get unemployment and other benefits in DC

Small businesses in the area can also benefit from resources due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Small Business Administration (SBA) has also provided programs, grants, and loans business owners can access to keep their establishments afloat. For more information, you can visit www.sba.org or call 202-727-3900 to apply.

"We need everybody to focus on research," said Bowser. "Find out what federal resources are available to you."

Rent Freeze and Consumer Protections

D.C. Council on April 7 unanimously passed its second emergency COVID-19 relief bill, a measure that establishes a rent freeze and mortgage payment deferrals, an expansion of unemployment insurance and more. 

The COVID-19 Response Supplemental Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 contains provisions to cushion the blow of the coronavirus health crisis on D.C. residents:

  • Rents are frozen across the District, not only in rent-controlled homes;
  • Mortgage companies are required to offer payment deferrals of up to 90 days;
  • Protections against utility shutoffs are expanded to include cable and telecommunications service;
  • Debt-collection lawsuits and the seizures of cars and other property are prohibited;
  • The definition of employment, for the purposes of collecting unemployment insurance, has been expanded to include self-employment, gig workers, those seeking part-time work and others “who otherwise would not qualify”;
  • Mayor Muriel Bowser has been given the authority to extend her emergency orders for a total of 90 days, ending in mid-June;
  • Chief Financial Officer Jeff DeWitt can now borrow short-term up to $500 million to close what’s expected to be a $600 million loss of revenue due to the economic impact of the pandemic;
  • A $25 million grant program has been established for D.C. hospitals to buy equipment, hire staff and build temporary hospitals (Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said the District expects to get that money back from federal relief efforts);
  • Every voter in the June 2 primary and the Ward 2 special election on June 16 will get an application for an absentee ballot in the mail, with return postage paid.

The bill also allows for up to 54 days of good-time credits for felons in addition to providing the possibility for compassionate release for inmates over age 60 who have served at least 25 years.

Budget Trims

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced funding efforts and federal/local programs to help residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

The District needs to cut more than $600 million from this year and next year's fiscal year budget, Bowser said. Spending for the District government will mirror 2017 spending level, and includes the following money-saving measures: A freeze on hiring, salary increases and travel, Bowser said.

Medical Surge Preps

Bowser is seeking to ramp up hospital capacity to 125 percent after she and D.C. Health professionals said they are preparing for a medical surge that could see more than 90,000 people sickened by the COVID-19 virus over the course of the next several months.

As part of the District's hospital surge plan, the city plans to make 1,600 beds available in area hospitals and 2,000 beds at the D.C. Convention Center. Bowser said 600 beds will be made available by May 1. 

D.C will also be awarding $25 million in grants to hospitals in the city. The award will be based on the number of beds hospital will make available. Bowser said the grant will be used to fund supplies, equipment, personnel, construction, and treatment efforts.

Bowser said health care experts are using the CHIME (COVID-19 Hospital Impact Model for Epidemics) model to estimate the number of cases in D.C., and what is needed to mitigate the spread of the virus.

On April 3, Bowser said the CHIME model estimates a peak number of more than 93,000 cases in the District over the next several months, with the peak reached in late June or early July.

READ MORE: DC estimates 93,000 will be infected with COVID-19; peak in July

Bowser stressed that the models help plan for the future, but medical professionals continue to monitor the virus in the real world.

As the number of people tested for coronavirus increases in D.C., Bowser has released the criteria needed to be tested at the United Medical Center.

Bowser spoke on April 2 at the UMC in Ward 8, where a drive-through testing site is open. The testing site is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to D.C. residents who are symptomatic, 65 and older, have underlying symptoms, and are area health officials and first responders who work in the District.

RELATED: 150+ DC firefighters and EMS workers self-quarantining, 32 test positive for coronavirus

Coronavirus Cases

Cases in D.C. have been traced to Christ Church in Georgetown, international travel, including Europe and a cruise down the Nile River, inmates at the DC Department of Corrections and attendance at conferences such as Biogen, CPAC and CEEP.  


Major Disaster Declaration

FEMA has granted a major disaster declaration request for D.C. following correspondence from District officials.

"The declaration authorizes the federal government to provide support to (D.C.) in the COVID-19 response, specifically on immediate threats to public health and safety, medical care and sheltering, the movement of supplies and logistics, and operations of our Emergency Operations Center, or EOC," Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director Chris Rodriguez said.

Bowser said on April 1 she does not believe FEMA donated any ventilators to the District yet.

RELATED: Federal emergency aid now available in DC for coronavirus relief efforts

Parking Enforcement

District operations have been adjusted until April 27, including parking enforcement. Parking restrictions during residential street sweeping (cleaning) have been suspended as are restrictions for rush-hour parking -- DPW won't be issuing tickets between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 pm. and 6 p.m.

"(DOT) has proactively installed signage at 20 locations across the District designating temporary restaurant pick-up/drop-off zones, and those zones are identified by 'Emergency No-Parking' signs," Rodriguez said. "Parking enforcement is in effect for (those) zones."

Tickets for expired license plates and registration stickers have also been suspended. Vehicle towing and booting has also been suspended.

Coronavirus-related Deaths

A 13-year employee of D.C. Employee Youth and Rehab Services, Kenneth Moore, died after being diagnosed with coronavirus, Bowser said April 2.

Bowser said on March 30 that a 39-year-old man with coronavirus has died.

Meanwhile, a 55-year-old man who passed away at home from coronavirus complications marked the District's fifth coronavirus death, this comes as President Donald Trump approved additional funding for D.C. to combat COVID-19. 

Credit: LinkedIn
George Valentine, a member of Bowser's staff, passed away from coronavirus.

Bowser also announced on March 27 that a member of her staff passed away following a coronavirus diagnosis.

Bowser identified the staff member as George Valentine, the Deputy Director of the Office of Legal Council. Bowser said Valentine had more than 20 years of experience in D.C. government and worked in the Office of the Attorney General before joining her team.

RELATED: 'His laugh was infectious' | Remembering DC public servant who died after contracting COVID-19

Bowser said that Valentine had come into the office as an essential employee, before being hospitalized. She said that contract tracing is underway. 

The mayor told reporters she did not believe she had contact with Valentine during the time of his diagnosis.

According to D.C. Chief Medical examiner, as of May 4, 103 coronavirus-related bodies have been claimed by families.

DC's Share Of Stimulus Relief Package

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said on March 26 that the District was awarded less money than states in the $2.2 trillion relief package that gives checks to Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

The District receives $500 million while states were awarded $1.25 billion. Bowser is calling on lawmakers to fix the $725 million inequity.

At least 25,000 people have applied for unemployment in the last week in D.C., according to District leaders. And about 30 to 40 percent of sales tax revenue was lost during the closure of businesses in the District.

Bowser has ordered all non-essential businesses in the District, including personal services, like salons, barbershops, etc., to close effective March 25, to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the District. Cases have topped more than 1,000 across D.C., Maryland and Virginia. 

“As we continue working to blunt the curve, my message to the community is simple: Be a good neighbor, stay at home," Bowser said.

RELATED: DC police restrict access to Tidal Basin cherry blossom trees

Officials also announced new child care options that were launched to help service healthcare workers. The District has partnered with three providers to provide care for children up to age 12, so healthcare workers can focus on work ahead of them, officials said.

The D.C. Council approved a "COVID-29 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020," which provides several measures that will assist residents, businesses, and organizations during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Emergency Act will do the following:

  • Extends employment protections under D.C. Family Medical Leave Act.
  • Extends the March 31 real property tax for hotels to June 30, 2020 and allows other businesses to defer February and March sales taxes to July 20, 2020.
  • Creates small business grant program, including grants to non-profits and independent contractors (if they do not qualify for Unemployment Insurance).
  • Allows for pick up or delivery of beer and wine (in a sealed container) to be consumed in the home from a restaurant if ordered with food.
  • Extends time for filing of biennial corporate filing.
  • Expands authorities for the Mayor under the Public Emergency Act.
  • Provides DISB flexibility for health insurance and matters regulated by DISB.
  • Extends public benefit programs such as Alliance, TANF, and SNAP.
  • Limits price gouging and stockpiling.
  • Prohibits utility companies from shutting off service.
  • Prohibits eviction of residential and non-residential tenants.
  • Prohibits housing providers from charging a late fee during emergency.
  • Allows for prescription drug refills before end of waiting period.
  • Extends licenses and registration deadlines (DMV, professional licenses, etc.).
  • Homeless Services Reform Act contingency provisions.
  • Extends Tenant Opportunity to Purchase OPA deadline and prohibit landlords from charging late fees.
  • Allows Department of Corrections discretion for awarding additional good time credits for those sentenced for misdemeanors, consistent with public safety.
  • Provides DCPS Summer school calendar flexibility.
  • Clarifies schools’ attendance reporting during emergency.
  • Allows ANCs to meet less than 9 times per year and may do so remotely.
  • Suspends meetings of other boards and commissions.
  • Extends FOIA deadlines.
  • Allows flexibility of the Open Meetings Act when remotely meeting.
  • Extends Budget Submission Requirements to a May 6, 2020 deadline.
  • Allows for Council to meet virtually.

What precautions should you take?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a mask if you have to make an essential trip outside
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Reasons to leave your home under stay-at-home order:

  • Grocery store trips
  • Medical visits or trips to the pharmacy
  • Travel to your essential job
  • Exercise such as walks, hikes or bike rides

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

If you are sick or suspect you are infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking the followings steps:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Avoid public areas, including work or school
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Contact your doctor via telemedicine for more guidance

RELATED: Coronavirus: Here are the symptoms

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RELATED: Maryland coronavirus updates: Here are details on every positive case

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