DC officials reaching out to Latino community after 3 coronavirus victims refrain from medical help

The coronavirus has claimed nine lives in D.C. – and three of those deaths were people who had not sought medical care and died at home.

With that in mind, Mayor Muriel Bowser sought to reach out to the District’s Latino community on Monday.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in the District, Maryland and Virginia

Leaders in the District, Maryland, and Virginia say they expect a spike in cases in the coming weeks – which will almost certainly mean more patients at George Washington University Hospital.

But on Monday, the alarming information that three had died at home from the virus without seeking medical help had the mayor issuing a special message to the Latino community.

"If a medical professional advises you to go to a doctor or a testing site please listen--anyone with symptoms needs to call a health care provider and if you are advised, you should seek treatment regardless of your immigration status. Your care and well being is a top priority and as always if you call us for help our first responders will not be asking your immigration status,” the mayor said.

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D.C. firefighters tending to a patient in Northeast today were all in personal protective equipment – including masks and gloves.
In a “tele-town hall” with firefighters last week, they were all told that PPEs – or personal protective equipment – are a precious commodity.

The city now has set up a special testing site only for firefighters, police officers, and corrections officers after 20 first-responders tested positive for the virus, and 343 went into quarantine.

According to a senior administration official, one of the three D.C. residents who died at home was Latino, but the official was unsure about the other two.

Later this week, a drive-up and walk-up test site will begin operating at the United Medical Center in Southeast. Testing is by appointment.

The mayor was also asked on Monday whether she foresees a large spike in the next few weeks.

"There are all kinds of models that have been produced we are inputting our data in those models as well and I'll say this we have not seen the peak of the spread of the infection in the District we have not seen the peak of hospitalizations and sadly we have not seen the peak of people who will succumb to the disease,” she said.

Among the Virginia officials FOX 5 talked to on Monday, there was only one at-home death, which was recorded in Fairfax County. It is unclear whether that person sought a doctor or medical professional.