District of Columbia - COVID-19 Covered

District of Columbia

Total Cases: 8,717 (May 30)
Tests Administered: 45,629 (May 29)
Fatalities: 462 (May 30)
Testing:
  • Mayor Bowser directed $2.3 million of the city’s contingency cash reserve fund for staffing hires at the DC Coronavirus Contact Trace Force. DC Health has also begun onboarding its first 17 tracers. (May 11)
  • DC Health and the Department of Forensic Sciences are working to conduct a citywide sero-prevalence survey to gather data on rates of exposure to COVID-19 – including to determine the extent of infection and age-specific cumulative incidence. (May 11)
  • Mayor Bowser said that the city has reached out to Congress to offer testing for federal lawmakers, as the Senate and House return to Washington. (May 11 )
  • Testing has been increasing in the city, as it received 5,700 results in the past week compared with 4,100 the previous week. The District has ordered 10,000 antibody tests and may be deploying testing equipment next week. (May 8)
  • District officials are flagging coronavirus risks for African Americans, Latinos, and individuals with medical conditions, releasing data that the rate of infection increased in the city’s Columbia Heights and 16th Street Heights neighborhoods. (May 4)
  • The District’s public health lab plans to double its testing capacity to 1,000 per day, but is currently not receiving more than 500 requests for testing per day. (May 3)
  • The District is expanding criteria for priority testing to include critical infrastructure workers with a history of exposure, including grocery store workers, essential government employees, and others. (April 28)
  • Mayor Bowser established the DC Contact Trace Force to hire hundreds of people to DC Health to identify individuals who have the virus and who have been exposed to it. The Force is aiming to increase its team to 200 tracers, with up to 700 tracers to be hired through Phase One of the District’s re-opening. (April 23)
  • The District reportedly has more tests available than people requesting them; Mayor Bowser is encouraging older residents to get tested if they feel ill and/or have underlying health problems. (April 22)
  • DC Public Health is expecting to double its testing capacity at the Public Health Lab in the coming weeks. (April 23)
  • DC Health is opening a new public testing site on the UDC-CC Bertie Backus campus, which will be open by-appointment on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (April 22)
  • Officials are expanding testing criteria to include those without symptoms who are likely to have been exposed and are in high-risk groups. (April 22)
  • The District is operating seven public testing sites and three member-specific testing sites. (DC Health)
  • According to Mayor Bowser, the District is increasing testing capacity, and can now test about 500 people per day in public labs. (April 14)
  • Consistent with CDC guidance, only patients who meet Persons Under Investigation criteria based on exposure and clinical factors and who are pre-approved by DC Health will be tested through the DC Department of Forensic Sciences Public Health Laboratory. (March 6)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Mayor Bowser’s order closing non-essential businesses designates healthcare and public health operations, essential infrastructure, food and household products and services, social services, communications and information technology, energy and automotive, financial services, educational institutions (for the purposes of facilitating distance learning), transportation and logistics, construction and building trades, housing and living facilities, professional services, and childcare facilities. (March 24)
  • DC Government is operating under an agency-specific telework schedule, delivering essential services to keep critical systems and services operating. Some operations will be performed remotely, while other services will continue to be performed at public buildings under modified operations. (March 20)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Mayor Bowser announced a reduction in speed limits on local roads to 20mph as well as an expansion in street access for businesses to support the District’s reopening efforts. (May 29)
  • Under Phase One of the District’s reopening, nonessential retail businesses may open for outdoor pickup and delivery (Indoor shopping remains prohibited.) Barbershops and hair salons may operate by-appointment only; there may be one customer per barber or stylist. (May 29)
  • Under Phase One of the District’s reopening, nonessential businesses that remain closed except for minimum business operations, curbside pickup or delivery, or home-based services include: fitness establishments (gyms; health clubs; spas; massage parlors; workout studios); tanning, tattoo, waxing, electrolysis, cryotherapy, facials, and nail salons; sporting venues; bowling alleys, skating rinks and gaming arcades; gymnastics, yoga, and dance studios; sauna and hot-tub showrooms or facilities; rock climbing centers; indoor racquet and squash courts; cigar and hookah bars and head shops; jewelry and watch stores; clothing stores; cosmetics stores; mattress stores; party supply stores; florists; gift, pen, and award shops; card/stationery stores; photography studios; toy stores; book stores; candle shops; sunglasses shops; home goods stores; pottery making or glassblowing workshops; party venues; frame stores; camping, skiing and other outdoor gear stores; weigh-in/weight loss centers and vitamin/supplement stores; tasting rooms and cooking demonstration facilities; theaters, cinemas and auditoriums; museums and galleries; bars, nightclubs, mixed-use facilities and private social clubs, except those licensed to serve food and permitted by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA); travel agencies; test preparation/tutoring centers; and professional services other than those provided to essential businesses and grantmaking. (May 29)
  • Mayor Bowser’s order extending the District’s public health emergency requires residents to use masks or face coverings when engaged in essential business and essential travel if social distancing cannot be maintained. (May 13)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • The DC council passed an emergency bill which includes an amendment that requires landlords with five or fewer units to establish alternate payment options for tenants during the pandemic, among other provisions. (May 19)
  • The Department of Housing and Community Development is making up to $800,000 available for small businesses in the city’s 7th and 8th (May 15)
  • The DC Council unanimously passed its fourth COVID-19 response measure, which will cap fees charged by meal delivery services to 15 percent of the order price, as well as require landlords to offer payment plans for renters. (May 6)
  • Mayor Bowser announced expanded relief options for residents struggling with student loan payments due to the pandemic; qualified residents will receive loan forbearance and other protections. (May 1)
  • Beginning April 24, workers became eligible to file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, including individuals receiving UI benefits. (April 29)
  • Mayor Bowser announced the members of the ReOpen DC Advisory Group, comprised of 12 committees and advised by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. The group is chaired by Secretary Michael Chertoff and Ambassador Susan Rice. Its first report is due to the Mayor the week of May 11. (April 27)
  • Mayor Bowser directed an additional $35 million of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to be used to assist local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. (April 9)
  • Mayor Bowser announced her administration has launched the new District Economic Recovery Team (DERT), which will coordinate an economic recovery plan for DC in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (April 8)
  • The DC Council passed its second emergency relief bill, establishing a rent freeze, mortgage payment deferrals, an expansion of unemployment insurance, a prohibition on debt-collection lawsuits, and protections against utility shutoffs, among other provisions. (April 7)
  • The District of Columbia has received a Major Disaster Declaration through FEMA. (March 29)
  • The District of Columbia, classified as a territory rather than a state, would receive about $500 million from the federal coronavirus relief package; Mayor Bowser is requesting the District be treated as a state. (March 26)
  • Mayor Bowser directed an additional $15,000,000 of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund to be used to purchase ventilators, personal protective equipment, testing supplies, medical supplies, and other equipment. (March 25)
  • Mayor Bowser directed an additional $5,000,000 of the District’s Contingency Cash Reserve Fund for the Office of Contracting and Procurement to purchase supplies and protective equipment; additionally, Bowser directed $1,000,000 to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. (March 24)
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the deadline for taxpayers to file and pay 2019 District of Columbia individual and fiduciary income tax returns, partnership tax returns, and franchise tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. (March 23)
  • Beginning April 1, the District will add 10 meal sites for all students, bringing the total meal sites at DCPS buildings to 29. (March 20)
  • The District Department of Transportation has suspended fares on all routes during the emergency. (March 18)
  • Pursuant to a public health emergency executive order issued by Mayor Bowser, OSSE has activated the District-wide Child Care Disaster Response Plan. (March 13)
  • The DC Superior Court temporarily suspended non-emergency landlord-tenant and debt collection hearings. (March 15)
  • Mayor Bowser signed an emergency bill that would expand eligibility for unemployment insurance and provide financial assistance for businesses likely to be impacted during the crisis; the legislation also included relief for renters. (March 17)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Mayor Bowser announced more than $8 million in additional support for the District’s small business microgrant program. (April 29)
  • Mayor Bowser launched the application for a new $25 million microgrant program to provide relief to local small businesses. (March 24)
  • Mayor Bowser announced that the US Small Business Administration has accepted the District’s declaration for assistance in the form of economic injury disaster loans. The Bowser administration has pledged to announce details about the Public Health Emergency Small Business Grant Program. (March 17)
  • She announced that the District Government has commissioned 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer from DC businesses to support first responders, health workers, and critical government personnel, and is pursuing additional orders of sanitizers from more local businesses (March 23).

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • The District of Columbia’s stay-at-home order was lifted on May 29. (May 29)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Gatherings of more than ten individuals are prohibited under Phase One of the District’s recovery period. (May 29)

Delivery Services:

  • Mayor Bowser’s order prohibiting mass gatherings provides for restaurants and taverns to operate delivery and grab-and-go operations. (March 16)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • DC’s school year will begin August 31. There has not been a decision made on whether classes will be taught in-person or remotely. (May 22)
  • Schools are conducting distance learning; the academic year will end half a month early, on May 29. (April 17)

City Higher Education:

  • Many colleges and universities have cleared their campuses and transitioned to remote learning, including George Washington University, Georgetown University, and American University. (March 11)
  • The Trump administration announced that more than $65 million in emergency federal funding will be made available to DC-area colleges and universities to support students struggling to afford basic needs. (April 9)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com