DC launches $5 million child care relief fund, renews calls for contact-tracing cooperation

D.C. will provide $5 million to child care facilities throughout the District as part of its pandemic relief efforts, the city said Monday.

The D.C. Child Care Provider Relief Fund will provide emergency money to all licensed child care providers.

“Expanding access to high-quality child care is one of the most effective ways to put families on the pathway to healthy and successful lives,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a release.

“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.”

Providers licensed by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education have been contacted about what to do next, according to the release. Award amounts will vary depending on the provider type and the number of children they were licensed to serve before the pandemic.

“We know that child care providers are small and local businesses as well,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio.

“They are essential small businesses that provide invaluable services to the families of Washington, D.C., and this relief helps businesses and families as we continue to recover together.”


More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


Contact tracing and new dashboard

D.C. urged more residents to cooperate with coronavirus contact tracers, as the city changed the way it shows data for its coronavirus reopening metrics Monday, adding new items such as test turnaround time.

The added info follows key thresholds the District needs to hit by category.

Notably, in the “Community Engagement” section outlined in red below, contact tracers are interviewing only 66.8% of positive cases within three days.

Click to enlarge.

“It’s really important, if we want to make progress on our contact-tracing metrics, that people answer our call,” said D.C.’s health director, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, at a news conference Monday. “It will help us contain the virus.”

She added that anyone the contact tracing task force contacts will remain anonymous. Residents who are contacted will not be asked about their immigration status, or a Social Security number or any other critical information related to bank account details or credit card numbers.

Nesbitt said it is “critically important that you answer the phone.”

When asked the contact tracing number, Bowser said: “What it is … we can have the best system, but we need participation.”

She noted that when calls didn’t work, D.C. staff performed home visits.

“We will continue to work for strategies to get the number where we need it,” Bowser said.

Unemployment

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said during Monday’s news conference that “it’s likely that we will have to look at adjusting the tax rate for unemployment insurance.”

The tax increase would impact businesses.

Mendelson said the District has “not been reticent about making unemployment available to workers who’ve lost their jobs due to the coronavirus. And we created quite a bit of flexibility back with our first legislation in March. And that means that we are expanding the unemployment insurance fund very quickly. And so it’s reasonable to expect that that fund will need additional revenues. And it’ll have to be an adjustment that we’ll have to consider.”

Mayor Bowser said, if needed, D.C. will lay out any worst-case scenarios to make sure the unemployment insurance fund is solvent.

DC coronavirus numbers

D.C. reported 23 new positive coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total to 14,978.

There was also one additional death. To date, 621 residents have lost their lives.

Track the District’s data online.

Below are maps of cases by ward and neighborhood. Click to enlarge.

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