DC Health plans to report coronavirus data similarly to the way it tracks flu

There are a few big changes coming to D.C. on Monday, starting with the lifting of the indoor mask mandate. The city will also change how it reports COVID-19 data.

D.C. is taking a new posture in the pandemic, DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said during a news conference Tuesday.

“We want to be able to help people understand the long-term strategies for monitoring infectious diseases that we expect will likely be endemic, and always present in our community, sort of the same way that influenza is,” Nesbitt said.

Starting Monday, health data will be presented differently on coronavirus.dc.gov to focus on the rate of community transmission, so residents can assess their own risk. The rate of transmission will be presented both in the daily and weekly seven-day rolling average.

“This is similar to what we use for flu. For flu, we use different categories to say minimal, low, moderate, high,” Nesbitt said when describing how the city explains the level of the disease in the community.

The site will lose tabs like “Reopen D.C.”, because the city is no longer closed in any way, and will also feature the percentage of its population that is fully vaccinated, Nesbitt said.

D.C. Health will also change how it traces known contacts of positive COVID cases, prioritizing high-risk cases.

“People who are at higher risk for severe illness or hospitalization, either based on age or information we have about their health condition. We want to make sure that we can direct them to therapeutics like monoclonal antibodies, and also for people who are in high-risk settings, such as child care facilities, schools, institutions of higher education, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, etc.,” Nesbitt said.

The city plans to keep testing centers open and encourages residents to use testing to strategize their holiday plans.

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.

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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