May 13, 2021

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DC Pauses Some Activities Over The Holidays Due To Coronavirus

4 min read

WASHINGTON, DC — Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed Monday she was extending the coronavirus public health emergency for D.C. to March 31, 2021. She issued her first emergency order early last March, so the District will be under a public health emergency for more than a year.

With the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths on the rise, Bowser said she was issuing a Mayor’s Order to implement adjustments to Phase 2 restrictions. These changes go into effect 10 p.m. on Wednesday, and run through to 5 a.m., on Jan. 15, 2021.

“We are pausing in-person dining in the District, but we are strongly encouraging our residents and visitors to take advantage of delivery and grab-and go-options that our restaurants will continue to provide,” Bowser said, during a Monday morning news conference. “Restaurants will continue to provide outdoor dining.”

As part of the Mayor’s Order, museums will be closed and libraries will cease indoor services but will be open for pickup and drop-off of materials.

The District’s Department of Parks and Recreation will only be able to offer reservations for individual swim and fitness room sessions.

In addition, all non-essential, non-retail businesses will be required to telework, except for in-person staff required to maintain minimum business operations.

Bowser’s order also lifts limits for retail food sellers.

“Food sellers and big box stores selling a range of essential and on-essential goods are no longer subject to the twenty-five percent (25%)/two hundred fifty (250) person occupancy cap,” the order said. “Stores must make plans that provide for safe social distancing between persons and limit occupancy to the extent necessary for safety.”

During the holidays, District residents are asked not to travel, gather in groups, or congregate with members outside their household.

“We recognize that what we’ve asked around the holidays is a difficult sacrifice,” Bowser said. “We’re asking everybody that even while we see that we’re on the verge of getting this virus under control with a vaccine and vaccinating Washingtonians, this is the time where we have to continue to be extremely vigilant.”

Over the weekend, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control concluded the Moderna vaccine was safe and effective for use in individuals 18 and older.

Last week, the District received 6,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and Kaiser Permanente has already administered more than 4,500 vaccines.

This week, the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed will be delivering 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 12,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine to the District. However, that program is allocating the District’s vaccine based on the city’s population and not on its health care workforce, which primarily reside in Maryland and Virginia. For this reason, the District has secured for additional doses of vaccine from the District’s two neighboring states. So, D.C. will received approximately 8,775 doses from Virginia and 8,000 Moderna doses from Maryland.

These vaccines will be distributed to Children’s National Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, Howard University Hospital, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the National Rehab Hospital, and Sibley Memorial Hospital to help vaccinate their health workforce. In addition, George Washington University Hospital is partnering with the Psychiatric Institute of Washington to help vaccinate its staff.

D.C. Health will be distributing doses of the Moderna vaccine to some of the District’s federally qualified health centers and local pharmacies, including:

  • Community of Hope – 2 sites, 200 doses per site

  • Mary’s Center – 1 site, 600 does

  • Unity Healthcare – 2 sites, 700 doses per site

  • Bread for the City – 1 site, 400 doses

  • Safeway Pharmacy – 10 sites, 500 doses per site

  • Giant Food and Pharmacy – 5 sites, 600 does per site

  • Bridgepoint – 2 sites, 600 doses per site

  • Kaiser Permanente – 1 site, 3,100 doses

  • St. Elizabeths Hospita – 1 site, 500 doses

  • United Medical Center – 1 site, 500 doses

This expansion of the number of places able to provide vaccinations will speed up the District’s ability to administer the vaccine to front line personnel and high-risk health care workers. Later this week, D.C. Health will launch an online registration tool that will allow these health care workers to schedule a vaccination appointment.

D.C. Health confirmed 139 new positive cases of COVID-19, the illness associated with the new coronavirus, on Monday. That’s down from the 259 reported on Sunday. This brings the District’s total number of positive cases to date to 26,740.

D.C. Health also confirmed five new deaths in the District due to COVID-19. The deaths are described as:

  • 58-year-old woman

  • 64-year-old woman

  • 67-year-old man

  • 79-year-old woman

  • 90-year-old man

The total number of deaths due to COVID-19 in the D.C. now stands at 742.

According to D.C. Health, 829,299 coronavirus tests have been administered in the District, 342,101 residents have been tested, and 18,893 have been cleared from isolation.

The District currently has 56 intensive care unit beds available out of 345 total intensive care unit beds. There are currently 198 in-use ventilators and 242 available. Also, there are 79 COVID-19-positive ICU patients.

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Globally, more than 76.9 million people have been infected by COVID-19, and over 1.6 million people have died, Johns Hopkins University reported Monday morning. In the United States, more than 17.8 million people have been infected and over 317,000 people have died from COVID-19.

District residents should take the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

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This article originally appeared on the Washington DC Patch

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