DC mayor highlights COVID-19 contact tracing home visits amid flurry of headlines

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday that COVID-19 contact tracers will soon begin home visits in the ongoing fight against the pandemic.

But during a summer that has seen the nation’s capital lurch from crisis to crisis, the mayor touched on a number of topics during what initially appeared to be a routine update on the District’s response the novel coronavirus.

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On Aug. 20, D.C. health officials will deploy their newest weapon in the fight against the pandemic when they begin sending contact tracers to residents’ homes.

Initially, the contact tracers will target the homes of people of people who failed to complete interviews pertaining to the virus, or those who could not be reached through the program.

According to D.C. Director of Health Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt broken down some of the revelations the contact tracing data has provided to health officials.

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The data highlighted the fact that any kind of mass gathering can present a health threat – even those within District restrictions.

For example, over the past “couple of weeks,” 90 percent of the people who’ve become infected have attended gatherings that fall short of the definition of mass gatherings, 50 people.

More tellingly, 50 percent of the cases have been linked to gatherings of fewer than 10 people.

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Nesbitt stressed that “mild symptoms, are still COVID-19 symptoms” and that anyone experiencing such symptoms should cancel any plans they may have or risk exposing others.

The mayor and her team also ran through a gauntlet of other items during the new conference, including:

- Asked whether they’re considering rolling back some reopenings – such as restaurants – Nesbitt says they’re data doesn’t indicate that enough cases are being linked to indoor dining. She said social events and travel are much larger contributors.

- The mayor indicated that she has instructed police to break up large gatherings. The order comes in the wake of a mass shooting on Dubois Place Southeast in which more than 20 people were shot and one person was killed.

- The mayor suggested that after a conversation with Rev. Al Sharpton, the so-called March on Washington that has been planned for August has been significantly reimagined. The new version will instead feature a seated event that will prioritize social distancing. In addition, at-risk individuals are being encouraged to observe the event from home.