D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is ordering travelers into Washington from over half the country to self-quarantine due to a widespread escalation in new coronavirus cases.
Beginning Monday, anyone visiting or returning to the District for non-essential activities from 27 high-risk states will need to isolate themselves and self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days.
High-risk coronavirus states
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
People coming into the District for essential purposes are not required to self-quarantine on their arrival. Instead, D.C. health officials advise those visitors to monitor for symptoms and seek medical attention or testing if they start to feel ill.
Travel to and from Maryland and Virginia is exempt from Bowser’s new order. The list is valid until Aug. 10, when local officials will reevaluate and post an updated list on the D.C. health department’s coronavirus portal.
“High-risk areas are locations where the seven-day moving average of daily new COVID-19 cases is 10 or more per 100,000 people,” Bowser said, on announcing the order at a news conference last week.
“We know, unfortunately, that there are states that are seeing significant spikes and new cases. We know that there are places where people are not being as cautious or making the sacrifices that we’re making here in D.C.”
Incoming college students from high-risk areas are included in the quarantine order. On Monday, health officials sent letters to District colleges and universities regarding their reopening plans and further guidance around testing, contact tracing and isolation procedures.
The new protocol for travelers comes days after Bowser tightened the city’s order on mandatory masks, requiring the public to wear face masks outside their homes and warning of a penalty up to $1,000 for those who do not adhere.
New coronavirus infections have been on an upswing throughout the D.C. region, following record increases throughout the South and West including California, Texas and Florida.
Though positivity rates remain well below the World Health Organization’s recommended 10% threshold in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, 7-day averages of newly-reported cases have been steadily rising in all three states since late June.
Daily statistics from state health departments show Virginia and Maryland are back to seeing daily case totals similar to late May or early June, averaging between 750 and 1,000 newly-reported cases per day — a noticeable surge. Both of D.C.’s neighbors are also experiencing a hike in pandemic-related hospitalizations.
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