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This Saturday, Georgia Avenue NW will be a space for pedestrians and cyclists—no cars allowed. The District’s first-ever Open Streets event, a concept that originated in Colombia, aims for residents to imagine a different use for roads. So an area that typically sees about 25,000 cars a day will be closed to traffic between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be yoga, live music, and workshops in the street. Capital Bikeshare is even offering free rides that day with the promo code OpenStreetsDC. When City Paper spoke with D.C.’s transportation director Jeff Marootian, he also reminded residents to visit the businesses along the three-mile street.

THE NEWS: 

The District’s only public psychiatric hospital that serves roughly 270 patients per day has been running without drinking water since Thursday, Sept. 26. 

As of this morning, chief of staff for the District’s Department of Behavioral Health Phyllis Jones tells City Paper not only that the water is still off, but that there is no timeline for when it will be fixed. The hospital may have an estimate later today.

Going on day eight, patients and staff at Saint Elizabeths Hospital are forced to use bottled water, hand sanitizers, and personal care body wipes after the water system was contaminated with a dangerous bacteria. 

Jones tells City Paper’s Josh Kaplan the hospital received preliminary lab results last Thursday, Sept. 26, indicating evidence of bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease in the water supply. 

In a separate story in June, Kaplan reported that Saint Elizabeths has dramatically increased its use of use of seclusion and restraints, two outdated and damaging practices. The average number of hours patients spent in restraints also increased by more than 1000 percent between 2014 and 2018. 

In August, Kaplan reported that hospital staff kept one patient “who had untreated, undiagnosed fractures in his hip and arm, tied by all four limbs to a bed for almost two hours. Staff were the ones who broke his bones, and it was almost 24 hours before the man received treatment for his injuries.” 

In terms of water outages, this is Saint Elizabeths’ second in three years. In 2016, the hospital turned off the water after a pipe ruptured. But this interruption is lasting longer than the last: In 2016, it took five days before patients and staff could wash their hands, and six days before they could drink out of the taps. 

Dr. Adam Kushner, who studies hospitals operating without water in developing countries, says what’s happening at Saint Elizabeths Hospital underscores health inequity in the U.S. 

“Not having any running water is horrible, and patients could get sick. Can anyone imagine Johns Hopkins or Mass General [the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School] not having water?” Kushner asks. “Maybe for a day. But then it happening again? It just wouldn’t happen.” Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? Email agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

MORE NEWS YOU CAN USE:

  • D.C. to move Medicaid patients with disabilities and chronic illnesses into private managed-care plans. Some advocates are concerned about the massive change. [WCP]

  • Local organizers are working to create a culture of consent. [WCP

  • Council stresses public health approach to gun violence during the first hearing on the topic of this session. [WTOP]

  • A D.C. family has been stranded in India for seven weeks. [Post]

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

  • Emergency bill would stop D.C. from assisting federal immigration authorities. [WCP]

  • D.C.’s board of ethics failure in whistleblower complaint reveals deeper dysfunction. [Post, D.C. Auditor]

  • Tinkering with D.C.’s rent control law, which expires in 2020. [WAMU]

  • U.S. Attorney to prosecute recent assault and robbery of a trans woman as a hate crime. [Blade]

  • White nationalist and Coast Guard lieutenant pleads guilty. [NBC]

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

  • A new fast-casual salad restaurant from the Toastiqueteam to open at The Wharf. [WCP]

  • Iron Horse is closing, but there’s already a replacement lined up. [Washingtonian]

  • Critic Tom Sietsema compares a new restaurant’s food to airline fare. [Post]

  • Exploring D.C.’s growing food hall scene. [WBJ]

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

  • Experience the delightful Happy Accidents of Bob Ross at Franklin Park Arts Center. [WCP]

  • Synetic Theater presents a wordless, water-filled production of The Tempest. [WCP]

  • Highwood Theatre’s website goes dark amid turmoil. [DC Metro Theater Arts]

  • Local band Shaedare making moves. [DCist]

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

  • The Nats drop Game 1 of the NLDS against the Dodgers, 6-0. Game 2 is tonight at 9:37 p.m. [ESPN]

  • D.C. United finally severs its rocky partnership with streaming service FloSports. [Post]

  • The Patriots are coming to town Sunday and the Washington football team still doesn’t know who will be starting as its quarterback. [Hogs Haven]

  • With several players on contract years, the Caps, who have their home opener against the Carolina Hurricanes tomorrow, could be nearing an end of an era. [Post]

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

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