Muriel Bowser

DC Residents With COVID-19 Report Going to Social Events Before Diagnoses

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Many D.C. residents recently diagnosed with COVID-19 reported going to social events, restaurants, bars and work in the two weeks before they were diagnosed. 

D.C.’s health department provided data Wednesday on diagnoses in the District. More than 16,000 cases of the virus have been diagnosed and 638 people have died. 

More than half of residents who were diagnosed during a weeklong period in early October and spoke with contact tracers reported engaging in “high to moderate exposure” activities in which they were close to others before they were diagnosed or developed symptoms.

Nearly 25% of people said they were at a social event with at least five attendees, about 22% said they were at work and about 21% said they were customers at bars or restaurants. 

“People are very comfortable with becoming relaxed when they attend gatherings with friends and family,” D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt said at a news conference. 

Nesbitt and Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to get flu shots, keep wearing face masks and keep social distancing. 

As “window shopping” for new health care through D.C. Health Link starts Thursday, sign up for health insurance if you don’t have it already, said Mila Kofman, executive director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority. Nearly 97% of D.C. residents have health insurance, in one of the highest rates in the country. 

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down, more than 80,000 D.C. residents will be at risk of losing their coverage, Kofman said. Several thousand others would see premium reductions from tax credits disappear. 

“We’ve done everything we could do,” Kofman said.

City officials announced on Wednesday another 64 positive cases of COVID-19 and the death of an 87-year-old man with the virus. 

City data says the neighborhoods with the most cases are, in order: Columbia Heights, 16th Street Heights, Brightwood, Chinatown and Naylor/Hillcrest. 

Coronavirus Cases by Neighborhood in D.C.

Source: D.C. Coronavirus Hub Credit: Anisa Holmes/NBC Washington
Last updated Dec. 9

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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