DC ‘closely’ reviewing new CDC guidance

A man gets tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 29, 2021.
People get tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 29, 2021.
People get tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 29, 2021.
People line up to get tested for COVID-19 at a testing site in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 29, 2021.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Thursday that city health officials are “closely” reviewing revamped COVID-19 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Monday’s new CDC guidance cuts isolation restrictions for asymptomatic Americans who catch the coronavirus from 10 to five days, and similarly shortens the time that close contacts need to quarantine.

Bowser was asked if the District would shift its guidelines to fit the CDC’s on CNN’s “New Day” show.

“I know that our D.C. health officials are reviewing those closely. We have typically followed the CDC guidance and issued our own D.C. Health guidance. We haven’t issued the new guidance yet, but we are following it closely,” Bowser said.

“We do think it’s very important that we give the public some easy-to-follow recommendations so that they can keep themselves safe and their family safe. So confusion with the CDC and D.C. Health, we don’t think supports the public health. So we’re looking at it very closely. And we’ll update our guidance accordingly.”

And though COVID-19 cases continue to surge around the D.C. region, hospitalizations aren’t increasing at the same speed, according to officials. Bowser credited coronavirus vaccinations. Nationwide, the number of new coronavirus cases has soared to its highest level on record at more than 265,000 per day.

“Our experience in our hospitals has been extremely good,” Bowser said, adding that D.C. hospitals “are withstanding the new cases.”

“And the reason that we’re in this position this year and not like we were last year is because of vaccination. We have to continue to focus on vaccination as our first line of defense, get people getting boosted. And a big ‘thank you’ to all of our nurses and doctors who are operating our hospitals and our residents who are only using the hospital when they need to.”

The mayor said that there has been an increase in the number of kids in the hospital over the last two weeks, but “that is still a relatively low number and well within their capacity.”

Current D.C. Health data show 358 total COVID-19 patients in District hospitals as of Dec. 28. A week earlier, on Dec. 21, it was listed at 164.

Bowser also said that students and staff at D.C. Public Schools needing to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before they head back to classrooms could become more regular after breaks.

“We anticipate that we can use it in future breaks,” the mayor said. “We have another February winter break, and we have a break for spring, obviously.”

D.C. Health data is available online.

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.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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