More than 72,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits from D.C. since March 13, the mayor said at a press briefing Wednesday on the District’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
That represents about 1 in 10 residents of the city’s population of approximately 706,000 people. Some applicants for benefits work in D.C. but live elsewhere.
D.C. and the federal government have paid more than $90 million in benefits to almost 34,000 people.
Financial relief is on the way for people including independent contractors and gig workers who have not qualified for ordinary unemployment benefits. These workers will be able to apply starting Friday for $600 per week in federal assistance, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said.
The mayor and city officials announced the number of cases and deaths in long-term care facilities, spoke about a new testing site in Northeast D.C. and shared information on rapid testing for people in homeless shelters and jail.
In D.C. nursing homes and long-term care facilities, 141 cases of the virus have been diagnosed among residents. Fourteen residents have died. Among personnel, 58 people have tested positive and one has died. City officials recently did a number of site visits, the mayor said.
“We remain very focused on how we protect residents in nursing homes and other congregant settings,” she said.
D.C. will open an additional public coronavirus testing site Thursday, at the University of the District of Columbia’s Bertie Backus Campus. The site at 5171 South Dakota Ave. NE will be open Tuesday and Thursday for walk-up or drive-thru patients with appointments. Go here to learn about testing sites in D.C.
Eighty percent of people to die of the virus in D.C. are African American, though African Americans make up only 46% of the District’s population. Officials hope that making it easier to get tested will help.
People who don't have symptoms but may have been exposed can now get tested.
D.C. will put rapid testing devices in six homeless shelters and two Department of Corrections facilities, among other sites. Personnel will be trained this week on how to use the equipment.
Additionally, planning is still underway for the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program, Department of Employment Services Director Unique Morris-Hughes said.