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THE NEWS:

The Executive Office of the Mayor says 71 individuals have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus illness, COVID-19, as of Thursday night. The number of cases increased by 32. Testing also more than doubled, from 203, as of Wednesday, to 573, as of Thursday.

Nearly half of the new cases include individuals who are 40 years old and younger. The District reported its first minor to test positive for COVID-19; the individual is an 8-year-old male.    

At a press conference on Thursday, DC Fire and EMS Director Gregory Dean said three firefighters tested positive for COVID-19 and that 141 employees are now under self-quarantine for exposure to those individuals. Police Chief Peter Newsham, meanwhile, said none of his officers have so far tested positive, but at least 13 are awaiting lab results while two already have tested negative. MPD has not ordered anyone to quarantine, but roughly 70 officers have self-quarantined based on medical advice. So far, one doctor at United Medical Center, D.C.’s only public acute care hospital, has tested positive for COVID-19. DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt could not say definitively if tests are pending for other doctors as testing is also being done in private labs. 

Public health experts seem to agree that as testing becomes more widely available, positive cases that already exist will begin to reveal themselves.

D.C. has at least two commercial labs in addition to its public lab. When asked if drive-through testing will be available within the city, as it has elsewhere, Mayor Muriel Bowser says the executive is exploring options like a centralized testing site now that she has the National Guard’s help. 

“But what will be critical is if we get federal assistance with supplies,” said Bowser during the press conference. 

ProPublicainvestigated how many Americans are infected with COVID-19. Turns out, it’s hard to know but it is likely far higher than the running count of positive cases. This is why it’s incumbent on all of us to #flattenthecurve, that is to take action to slow down the spread of the virus. “If your state has reported community transmission, the message is the same no matter the number of cases: engage in social distancing immediately,” Maia Majumder, a computational epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, tells ProPublica

So folks, stay at home. The goal is to not overwhelm the health care system or else things can get really bad. Finally, because many readers should be staying home, digitally thumb through this week’s paper here.—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)  

CITY DESK LINKS, byAmanda Michelle Gomez:

  • DC Jail inmate tested for the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, 67 are now quarantined due to possible exposure. [WCP]

  • Here is how to help small businesses through this pandemic that has shutdown D.C. [WCP]

  • Since Monday, 7,594 D.C. residents have filed for unemployment benefits. [Twitter]

  • Advocates for domestic violence survivors prepare for an influx of cases as families are confined to their homes. FYI: Restraining orders extend to May 1 and anyone looking to get a protection order through the Court can still do so online. [WAMU, WCP

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Bowserwon’t explicitly say whether she’s considering an order to shelter in place. [Twitter]

  • Building more housing would help with affordability—to an extent. [WAMU]

  • Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine is on the Politics Hour this afternoon. [Kojo

  • Meet (some of) the Ward 8 Council candidates. [GGW]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com) 

  • The hospitality industry waits for help after restaurants and bars close to diners. [WCP]

  • Two D.C. distilleries made their own hand sanitizer. [DCist]

  • Tips for safe grocery shopping. [Post]

  • What restaurants really need to survive. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, byKayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Liz At Large: “Brave” [WCP]

  • Inside Henry V, Brave Spirits Theatre’s final performance before hiatus due to COVID-19. [WCP]

  • A man found a human femur bone near the National Zoo. [Post]

  • People are still visiting the cherry blossoms despite the pandemic. [DCist]

SPORTS LINKS, byKelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Even if the NBA season is over, Bradley Beal had a year to remember. [Bullets Forever]

  • The best sports movies to watch during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Washington Post sports staff. [Post]

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and one of the leading voices in helping curb the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S., loves to run. [Yahoo, WSJ]

CITY LIGHTS, byEmma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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