D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser suggested Friday she isn’t in any rush to lift any further coronavirus restrictions — for at least the next few months.
“I think we all, as a city, need to be focused on getting kids back to school on Nov. 9, and we shouldn’t expect life to go back to normal until kids are back in school,” Bowser said Friday during a news conference announcing her pick for D.C.’s new fire chief.
D.C. Public Schools started back in session Monday with all-virtual lessons through at least the first term, which ends Nov. 6. The school system will then evaluate returning to in-person learning but hasn’t made any firm decisions yet.
Under D.C.’s current Phase Two guidelines, which began in late June, restaurants were allowed to reopen indoor dining rooms at 50% capacity, and gyms were given the OK to reopen with social distancing requirements.
The mayor’s comments come as Maryland is set to shift into Phase Three of its statewide reopening plan, which allows virtually all businesses to reopen with safety restrictions in place. However, leaders in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties have already announced they will delay moving into Phase Three.
In D.C., Bowser said the city hasn’t seen any major spikes in cases recently, but cases haven’t dropped either.
“Plateauing is not a good thing,” Bowser said, especially if contact tracers are not able to attribute cases to other known cases, which means the virus is still circulating in the community.
D.C. is still averaging about 50 new COVID-19 cases a day, according to data from the District’s Department of Health. The number of people who are dying from the virus is down significantly from a peak in late April. Still, 611 people with COVID-19 have died, according to the D.C. data.
“I think it is a good thing that we don’t see new cases in the hundreds,” Bowser said. “But we still see too many new cases.”
In a news release Friday, the mayor’s office announced the District had surpassed more than 300,000 completed coronavirus tests since the pandemic began.
Testing at city-run sites and in “congregate care” settings, such as the D.C. jail, accounted for more than a third of those tests, according to the release.
You can find information on where to find testing in D.C. on the District’s coronavirus website.
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