Bowser expects ‘more conversations’ with White House as DC offers help with virus response

D.C. leaders have been trying to coordinate with the White House on a response to an apparent COVID-19 outbreak among federal officials.

On Wednesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt connected with the White House by phone late Monday.

“Dr. Nesbitt was able to talk to the medical office, I think deputy director, and understand what their processes are,” Bowser said. “She shared with them our capabilities and how we could be supportive, as well; and I expect that that dialogue will continue.”

But when the mayor was asked whether she was confident with the White House’s actions around contact tracing and virus containment, she said, “Dr. Nesbitt had one conversation, and I expect that she’s going to have more conversations before I would say that.”


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President Donald Trump is back in the White House recovering from COVID-19 after a three-day hospitalization at Walter Reed. Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced their positive coronavirus results just last week.

Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller is the latest to test positive. Other White House officials who have tested positive include press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and adviser Hope Hicks.

The Sept. 26 White House event announcing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as Trump’s Supreme Court pick is under scrutiny after a number of attendees later announced positive coronavirus results, including former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Guests were seen mingling closely, many without masks.

On Tuesday, Democratic members of Congress from the D.C. area issued a statement that was critical of the White House’s seeming lack of concern for local health protocols. In a separate letter, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton expressed concern to Trump physician Dr. Sean Conley.

That same day, D.C. reported 105 new coronavirus cases, the largest number since June — and more people in the city appear to be getting tested for the coronavirus in recent days.

Bowser said there’s no indication the recent bump could be linked to any specific event.

WTOP’s Teta Alim and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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