Bowser: Stay home so hospital workers don’t get overwhelmed after holidays

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had a simple message for residents during the holidays: Stay home so hospital workers don’t get overwhelmed on the other side.

After a spike in coronavirus cases in D.C., Bowser introduced new restrictions that go into effect Wednesday at 10 p.m. as part of a “holiday pause” throughout the nation’s capital — including a ban on indoor dining.

D.C., Bowser said Monday, has been “dialing back” all kinds of activities to combat the spread of the virus.

“So what we are very focused on now, like jurisdictions all around us and all around the country, on how to dial back even more activity,” she said. “And … we know that this is a limited time. And we’re asking everybody to make this sacrifice so that our hospital workers won’t be overwhelmed following these holidays.”

Bowser noted that indoor dining has been “pretty consistently cited” as a cause of viral spread.

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.

D.C.’s hospitals have seen an increase of COVID-19 patients for several days, the mayor said.

“So, as we think about all of our activities, we’re really aiming to make sure that our hospitals can handle people who need COVID care, but also all of the other care that people need in general,” Bowser said.

Once again, she called for vigilance.

“We’re asking everybody to protect themselves and their families by staying home, not traveling, limiting your activities with other households for the Christmas holiday and New Year’s Eve, and everything in between,” Bowser said.

She added that getting tested doesn’t replace the precautions people should be taking: Wear a mask, socially distance and wash your hands.

“Practice good hand hygiene and limit your activities,” Bowser said. “We’re asking people not to travel and gather in groups, and have different members of households sitting close together. And please pay close attention to not letting your guard down in familiar places, around familiar people. That is your own home, or friend’s home, or relative’s home — still wear a mask.”

The mayor clarified another component of the pause Monday: dining in outdoor spaces.

During the “holiday pause,” outdoor dining structures, tents or canopies are allowed to have two flaps or walls.

In addition, “streateries” and parklets can’t be used during a snow emergency.

However, restaurants can continue outdoor dining, and carryout and delivery services.

Bowser’s order closes museums and libraries, requires reservations to swim in a city pool, halts DC Circulator National Mall routes and recommends nonessential businesses to telework.

How DC’s COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed

The District is receiving thousands of more coronavirus vaccine doses from Virginia and Maryland this week, as well as more shots from the feds.

The shipments include both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.

According to the mayor’s situational report, D.C. will receive:

  • 8,775 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Virginia
  • 8,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine from Maryland
  • 4,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Operation Warp Speed
  • 12,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine from Operation Warp Speed

Dr. Ankoor Shah with D.C. Health said the additional doses will allow the District to protect more high-risk health care workers, including EMS workers and those at nursing facilities.

“Through the pharmacies and their federally qualified health center partnerships, we’re able to vaccinate intermediate care facility staff, home health aides, urgent care workers, and start the vaccinations for those pharmacists and federally qualified health center staff,” Shah said.

He added that, later this week, an online registration tool will become available “that will aim to connect those individual health care workers to these access points to help schedule and connect to vaccination at the end of this week, and coming next week.”

Shah said D.C. has been able to vaccinate about 4,500 people so far.

Even with the additional doses, he lamented the lack of vaccine shipments from the feds.

“We have been getting less than what we deserve,” Shah said. “And that is a simple fact.”

See Bowser’s presentation online.

DC coronavirus numbers

The District reported 139 new coronavirus cases Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 26,740.

Five additional deaths were reported. To date, 742 D.C. residents have died from the virus.

Track the District’s data online. Below are maps of cases by ward and neighborhood.

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