On Thursday, Sept. 24, the District of Columbia reported 57 new positive coronavirus cases, almost double those of prior days. D.C.’s overall positive case total is now 15,163, with 623 COVID-19 related deaths.
According to The Washington Post, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is considering lifting bans on certain recreational locations in the near future, such as indoor pools and libraries. This eventual third phase of reopening will most prominently allow for the reopening of D.C. public schools, and move the city into a near return to normal.
At a COVID-19 situational update on Monday, Sept. 21, Bowser introduced 10 requirements that must be met before the city can enter into the third and final phase. Top requirements are that over 60 percent of new cases have to be related to already existing cases, and no greater than five new cases per 100,000 residents should be discovered in a given day.
She went on to speak of a $5 million COVID-19 relief fund for child care providers in the area. “This grant will ensure more families, particularly our working families who are sacrificing so much during this public health emergency, have access to the child care and support they need and deserve,” Bowser said.
According to the D.C. Department of Health, there are currently 29 COVID-19 positive Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients, 2,487 total beds, and 440 total ventilators available, which is specified as standard operation. Testing in D.C. is available for anyone who determines they need it and does not require a doctor’s note. 373,586 coronavirus tests have been administered for residents.
Bowser declared a public health emergency in March. Following her update this week, D.C. City Council voted to allow her to extend the order, which would have expired in early October, to the end of 2020. The District of Columbia has remained in its second COVID-19 phase for over three months, maintaining moderate community spread, moderate health and public health capacity, and fair community engagement.
More than seven million Americans have been infected, and about 203,000 deaths have occurred in the country as a result of COVID-19.