'Stay at home': Bowser sends message as District prepares for possible surge in coronavirus cases

Mayor Muriel Bowser said D.C. is working hard to flatten the curve of the coronavirus impact to the nation’s capital while preparing for a possible medical surge in cases in the District.


At a press conference Monday, Bowser made her message clear. "We are asking everybody to be a good neighbor and stay at home. Stay at home," she said.

Bowser said two deaths have been reported in D.C. due to the coronavirus. The mayor said hospitals in the District are testing in-house for the coronavirus and said leaders are seeking bed space outside of medical facilities as they prepared for a possible increase in cases.

Bowser said access to the Tidal Basin, home to D.C.’s famous cherry blossoms, has been restricted. "The trees are indeed beautiful. We’ve been enjoying them for more than 100 years and we will enjoy them again next year," she said. Police closed down streets, bridges and traffic circles Sunday morning to limit the traditional crowds who pack the area around the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin. The cherry blossoms reached peak bloom on Friday and should stay that way for about 10 days.

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Bowser said the District is in need of more help from the federal government to combat the virus outbreak. "In order to have more tests available we need more swabs, personal protective equipment and ventilators," she said. She also called on Congress to assist with economic relief efforts.

"Everything’s closed. So we want people to stay close to home," Bowser said. The mayor added that all of the District’s park and recreation facilities have been closed.

On Monday, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Bowser released a joint statement following a conference call on the coronavirus pandemic. Read the full statement below: 

“As leaders of the three jurisdictions of the National Capital Region, we carry a unique responsibility to keep the federal government operating. Our actions promote the health and safety of more than 360,000 federal workers who live and work across our three jurisdictions. No other region in the country bears this responsibility. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we call on the federal government to provide additional financial support to help our jurisdictions maintain the health and safety of the region and the federal workers who serve the American people.

“The COVID-19 virus knows neither borders nor boundaries – it does not recognize state or city lines. We are working closely together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Together, we are promoting social distancing and encouraging all of our residents to stay at home and avoid crowds and gatherings. In each of our jurisdictions, we will be enforcing crowd control measures and social distancing standards.

“We will continue to work together to keep our residents and the federal workforce as healthy and safe as possible in the coming weeks and months.”