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THE NEWS:

There are at least nine confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the District, Maryland, and Virginia, as of Monday morning. Two of those cases are in D.C.

So what do we know about the two cases? 

The first is the rector of Christ Church Georgetown, Rev. Timothy Cole, who is in his late 50s. Cole had no recent international travel, nor did he come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. He first reported feeling ill on Feb. 28 and was later hospitalized on March 5. The church’s top-ranking clergy is in stable condition. The historic Episcopal church has cancelled services and all other activities until further notice. 

The church is also recommending that its members contact local health providers if they are concerned. DC Health recommends anyone who visited Christ Church Georgetown on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 self quarantine for 14 days after they last visited “out of caution.” 

The second is another middle-aged man from Nigeria who visited the District for one night. He left the city before displaying symptoms. Later, in a Maryland hospital, he tested positive for COVID-19. The District tested three individuals who stayed in the same residency as “Patient 2,” as officials refer to him; they all tested negative. One of the three is a staff member at School Without Walls High School. 

Out of abundance of caution, School Without Walls announced Sunday night that the school would close Monday to undergo a deep cleaning and it is expected to reopen Tuesday. This was the first school closure due to COVID-19. At least two other schools have since announced closures for cleaning. According to an announcement to families, DC International School is closed Monday because a staff member “may have had exposure to the COVID-19 virus.” The third is Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School’s P Street NW campus. 

Mayor Muriel Bowseris weighing whether to declare a state of emergency because it would give her the authority to impose quarantines. So far no major public events, like the National Cherry Blossom Festival that runs March 20th to April 12th, have been cancelled. 

Health officials are recommending residents practice proper hygiene etiquette—that means regularly washing your hands and staying home if you feel ill. For more information, District officials are directing the public to go to visit coronavirus.dc.gov.

So far 18 people have been tested for COVID-19 in D.C. as of March 8. If cost-sharing for testing becomes an issue, Bowser says her insurance commissioner will address this in the coming days. Have you been hit with a surprise medical bill after going to the hospital for fear of having COVID-19? Share your experience with City Paper by replying to this newsletter or emailing me directly.—Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)  

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • D.C. taxpayers spent at least $12,000 protecting the mayor as she campaigned for Mike Bloomberg, who suspended his campaign for president on Wednesday. [Post]

  • The inequities of parent fundraising across public schools. [Blog]

  • “Full worm supermoon” tonight. [WTOP]

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

  • Virginia legislature approves marijuana decriminalization and minimum wage hike. [Post. WTOP]

  • Former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. is back in politics after serving prison time for embezzling taxpayer dollars. [Post]

  • ICYMI: Jack Evans says he has enough signatures to appear on the June 2 primary ballot. [WCP]

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

  • Arepa Zone wants to continue it’s five-year run in Union Market but developer EDENS wants them out by March 31. [WCP]

  • A black-owned D.C. restaurant for every occasion. [Bon Appetit]

  • The personality behind The Palm, Tommy Jacomo, dies at 75. [Post]

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

  • Suddenly Last Summerbrings a searing Tennessee Williams Southern drama to life. [WCP]

  • How the coronavirus is impacting D.C. tourism. [Post

  • For interactive play Museum 2040, Dance Loft on 14 transforms into a futuristic fictionalized museum. [DCist]

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

  • Just hours after the Maryland men’s basketball team clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title—their first since joining the conference—the Maryland women’s basketball team beat Ohio State, 82-65, to win the Big Ten tournament. [The Diamondback, Testudo Times]

  • A few Nationals players—Patrick Corbin, Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, and Kurt Suzuki—went golfing with the president, taking their Trump fandom to the next level. [NBC Sports Washington]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full To Do This Week newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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