DC to Require COVID-19 Testing for Visitors From High-Risk States

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Anyone who visits D.C. from a state that city officials consider high-risk must get a COVID-19 test before traveling and again if they will be here for more than three days, officials say. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the new restrictions Thursday and said they will go into effect Monday with a new mayor’s order. 

“We want people to be safe and smart if they do travel,” Bowser said at a news conference. 

As of last Monday, D.C. considered 42 states high-risk as virus cases rise across the country. A new list of states will be released this upcoming Monday. The new list will show states considered lower risk, rather than high-risk.

Travelers to D.C. will be required to get tested up to 72 hours before they travel. If you are a close contact of someone who has the coronavirus, don’t travel, the city says. If you’re here for more than three days, you must get tested again within three to five days of arrival. 


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Private institutions such as employers, universities, hotels and houses of worship may ask visitors about their recent travel and require proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the new order will say. 

Bowser admitted that enforcement will operate somewhat on the honor system and will rely on the private sector. There will not be "check points" at airports or on highways.

The new restrictions will not apply to visitors from the neighboring states of Maryland and Virginia, people here less than 24 hours, people traveling for essential work, or those traveling for a family emergency or funeral. 

D.C. health officials are warning residents of the dangers associated with the upcoming holidays. News4’s Mark Segraves has some do’s and don’ts from Mayor Bowser.

D.C. residents who travel to a high-risk state will be required to “limit daily activities and self-monitor for 14 days upon their return” or limit their activities until they get tested 72 hours after their return and receive a negative result. 

Bowser also announced today D.C. Residents can begin getting at-home test kits from LabCorp. The kits cost about $100, but you can use insurance, according to the mayor. The at-home kits are more reliable than the rapid test kits but can take three to five days to get results.  

The District announced 81 more COVID-19 cases earlier Thursday. Three more people died. 

More than 17,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in D.C. and 650 people have died. 

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