What to Know
- D.C. officials are planning for a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations weeks from now, in early May, the mayor said.
- At least three residents who died of the virus were not in hospitals and did not appear to have been tested.
- The mayor urged anyone with coronavirus symptoms to see a medical provider, regardless of their immigration status.
A COVID-19 testing center for first responders opened Monday in Washington, D.C., the mayor announced.
As the tally of D.C. residents sickened and killed by coronavirus rises, Mayor Muriel Bowser said District officials are projecting a sharp rise in cases weeks from now.
The mayor said that while “the models vary,” officials are planning for a surge in hospitalizations in early May.
“We want to have our surge capacity online by the first week of May,” the mayor said at a news conference Monday morning.
In the District, 401 people were known to have the virus. Nine people died. The number of illnesses and deaths is expected to rise.
“We haven’t seen the peak of the spread of the infection in the District. We have not seen the peak of hospitalizations. And sadly, likely, we have not seen the peak of people who will succumb to the disease,” Bowser said.
Concerns Over Care and Immigration Status
Three of the people who died were not in hospitals and did not appear to have been tested, a representative for the mayor said. At least one person who died at home was Latino, which led officials to worry that people are not seeking help because of their immigration status. Information was not released on the immigration status of the person who died.
D.C. officials said anyone who believes they have coronavirus symptoms should consult with a doctor, regardless of their immigration status.
“Our first responders will not be asking about your immigration status,” the mayor said.
Anyone who has symptoms and does not have a doctor can call 844-796-2797, said Director of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs Jackie Reyes-Yanes. The number connects callers with Mary’s Center, a health care facility that helps patients regardless of immigration status.
D.C. has begun to categorize coronavirus deaths as hospital deaths or community deaths. People categorized to have had community deaths likely died at home.
D.C. first responders who have been referred by a provider will be able to use the District’s dedicated testing site for officers and firefighters.
The police and fire departments have been hit hard by the virus. Five members of the police department tested positive and 161 others were out because of the virus, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue said. Fourteen members of DC Fire and EMS were diagnosed and 177 were in quarantine. One member of the city’s staff tested positive and 71 were quarantined.
Within the Department of Corrections, four people tested positive and 83 were in quarantine.
The number of people who enter the Central Cell Block is down dramatically, sometimes dropping by 75 percent, Donahue said. He described a “concerted effort to prevent people from entering the justice system.” Arrests are unchanged for violent crimes and domestic violence, he said.