Paid COVID leave: DC workers who have to isolate won’t need to use personal sick time

Paid COVID-19 leave is on the way for D.C. workers.

D.C. employees who have to isolate after testing positive for COVID-19 won’t need to use their personal sick time, City Administrator Kevin Donahue said Friday.

He said Mayor Muriel Bowser has approved the move.

“We’re actually working on the final details of that right now,” Donahue said during a call with the D.C. Council. “Just running some things by the (chief financial officer’s) office to see if there’s any financial implications.”

He added that he expects some form of communication to go out to District agencies, as well as employees and their unions, later Friday afternoon.

The paid COVID leave is specifically for a D.C. worker who tests positive themselves, Donahue said.

The city administrator also offered some positive news on D.C.’s case count: He said data that the health department displays has leveled out, if not come down a bit.

D.C. Health’s Patrick Ashley said the District has “likely” hit its peak of the omicron variant.

“We’re very hopeful for that. We’ve seen some positive numbers, as we shared earlier this week,” Ashley said.

He cautioned that COVID either already is or is becoming endemic in the community.

“And we’re really looking at … how does that affect our long term operations, both of the city as well as a society at large, and also making sure that we have the health care infrastructure in place to be able to deal with that,” Ashley said.

“While we’ve seen cases drop, as I mentioned earlier this week, there’s still a significant amount of COVID in the community. And so we’re not even below where we were in the third wave before. So there’s still a lot that we’re still very carefully looking at.”

He urged people to get vaccinated, and to get boosted for the most protection.

“What we’re likely going to see is that COVID is here to stay, it’s going to become something where we’re getting annual vaccinations for this, and looking at how that it spreads throughout the community,” Ashley said.

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 Writer/Editor for 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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