coronavirus

DC Needs 3,500 More Hospital Beds, Worst-Case Plan Says

Officials also had updates on a new testing facility at United Medical Center, heavy unemployment and why Ward 8 has so few cases

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Washington, D.C., officials are planning for a surge in coronavirus cases that could put thousands of people in hospitals. 

News4 obtained a copy of the District’s coordination and support plan, which gives a snapshot of what could be a worst-case scenario. 

The plan prepares for tens of thousands of residents testing positive in the coming weeks and months, and identifies the need for an additional 3,500 beds. 

As many as 5,500 COVID-19 patients could be in D.C. hospitals by June 11, the plan says. 

The plan calls for a 200-person homeless shelter and another public shelter with the capacity for 200 people.

The mayor declined to provide details on the plan Thursday but said she would have more information Friday. 

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As of Wednesday, D.C. hospitals had 240 available ventilators. 

Officials announced 67 additional cases of coronavirus Thursday morning. A total of 653 cases in D.C. were known. Twelve people with the virus died. 

Here were other top updates from the mayor and District officials: 

A Second Virus Death by a City Worker: A man who worked for the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services for more than a decade died Wednesday of coronavirus, becoming the second city employee to die of the virus. 

Kenneth Moore worked as a youth development representative, most recently helping at-risk youth at the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse, the DYRS director said. 

“We share our deepest condolences with his family and loved ones,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a news conference Thursday morning. 

Moore’s “compassion and commitment to our youth as a public servant will have a lasting impact on countless youth, families and DYRS staff,” Director Clinton Lacey said in a message to staff. 

Moore, a D.C. native, previously worked with young people at the Youth Services Center in D.C., the Oak Hill youth detention facility in D.C. and New Beginnings Youth Development Center in Laurel, Maryland. 

On Friday, Bowser announced that city attorney George Valentine died of the virus. He worked in the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel and was a D.C. employee for more than two decades. 

Testing Facility at United Medical Center: A coronavirus testing facility will open Friday outside United Medical Center. Officials spoke from there on Thursday. 

Anyone who wants to be seen at the drive-up and walk-up facility needs to call ahead and get an appointment. Patients with priority will be D.C. residents who are 65 or older and have symptoms, D.C. first responders and D.C. residents with symptoms and underlying health conditions. The facility will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 

In the coming days, a hotline will open for potential patients to call. 

Ward 8: Fewer cases of the virus have been diagnosed in Ward 8 than in any other ward. As of Thursday morning, 51 cases were known. In Ward 6, west of the river, more than twice as many cases had been diagnosed. 

Ward 8 Council Member Trayon White said, “There are a number of people here in the ward who have not gotten tested and don’t know where to go for testing.” 

He said he was thankful that the United Medical Center testing facility would open.  

Unemployment: The mayor said she anticipated at least six months of “really, really heavy use of unemployment services.” She said she believes the District has seen a first wave of workers affected, including those who work in restaurants, bars and entertainment. Additional people who are employed now but will not be later could be next. The District is working on growing its capacity to answer calls about unemployment. 

More Funding for DC: Bowser said she continues to seek additional federal relief funds for D.C. She said she spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday and that the White House had “been an open ear.” 

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

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