When it comes to reopening D.C. after its closure during the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Muriel Bowser said simply Monday: “We’re not there yet.”
The city has not met the federal criteria of seeing a two-week downward decline in positive coronavirus cases.
“One of our criteria for reopening is, of course, to meet 14 days of sustained declines in cases. And you can see we are not there yet,” Bowser said.
She also stressed that residents continue to follow health guidelines from her office.
“We have not begun to see a period of declines. So, it continues to be critical that D.C. residents stay at home and practice social distancing,” she said.
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The District is also upping its push to let residents know about coronavirus testing.
Robocalls and radio ads featuring former first lady Michelle Obama will launch this week to let people know.
“I just want to say that early on in our response, the first lady’s office reached out to us to ask how she could help,” Bowser said.
Thank you @MichelleObama for helping us let Washingtonians know that they can get a free, coronavirus (COVID-19) test by calling 1-855-363-0333. We’re all in this together. #StayHomeDC pic.twitter.com/mrbOsYMzni
— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) April 27, 2020
Reopen DC committee
Bowser announced the co-chairs for the committee that is being tasked with developing a plan to reopen the District: Susan Rice, former national security adviser under President Barack Obama, and Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush.
“I want to thank them for bringing their vast experience to this effort in their willingness to serve their city,” Bowser said.
She also named six others who will head the steering committee: former Mayor Anthony Williams; former Mayor Adrian Fenty; D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson; Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt; former Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Nicole Laurie; and Bowser’s senior adviser, Beverly Perry.
A virtual town hall is scheduled for Wednesday to get feedback from residents. More information on that will be posted to coronavirus.dc.gov.
Bowser said she expects the committee to have an initial report on a plan to reopen D.C. the week of May 11.
She also said she’ll continue working with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on plans to reopen.
“Our jurisdictions aren’t entirely the same, but we do share this National Capital Region,” Bowser said. “In our view, what happens in the National Capital Region is very important to how well the District can continue to flatten the curve and how we will reopen. So, we have conversations with the governors, and we will continue to do that.”
D.C. marked its youngest death from COVID-19: a 17-year-old-boy.
Coronavirus cases continue to increase in the District.
D.C. reported 3,892 total cases, as of Sunday, with 51 new positive cases and seven additional COVID-19-related deaths.
At least 185 D.C. residents have died from the virus.