DC Health representatives are telling residents who call and ask about their COVID-19 test that it will take 10 days for them to get results back. This reporter called the D.C. hotline on two separate occasions to ask about a test she took July 6, and separate representatives said it would take 10 business days due to a backlog, and to call again July 17. This has been the experience of other residents too.       

The representatives went on to explain that D.C. is seeing as many as 2,000 tests per day. Christopher Geldart, the Department of Public Works director who is overseeing emergency operations, said residents would see test results turn up between five and seven days because of the influx of testing during a Monday press conference. This is longer than city officials would like, but it’s largely out of their control. 

“That primarily has to do with the amount of testing that is going on throughout the country because we do contract labs as well as our own lab to do the testing in the city,” said Geldart.  

D.C.-supported testing sites mainly depend on the public health lab and LabCorp for tests. Geldart explained that the District is processing 1,400 to 1,500 tests at private laboratories outside the city, for $90 per test, and processing the rest at its own public lab, for $50 per test (this only accounts for reagent costs).In a Wednesday press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser says D.C. “maxed” its internal capacity. She reiterated that D.C. residents are seeing longer turnaround times due to the demand for testing nationwide.

The American Clinical Laboratory Association, of which LabCorp and other private labs are members, says its labs are performing more than 300,000 tests each day—this is presenting significant supply challenges.   

“In light of the ongoing spread of COVID-19 in states across the country, many labs are now receiving more test orders than they are able to process in a single day. We have urged ordering providers to prioritize testing for those most in need, especially hospitalized and symptomatic patients,” said Julie Khani, ACLA president, in a statement on Tuesday. “That will help better manage demand for testing while labs continue to perform COVID-19 testing and increase their capacity, which will require adequate supplies and additional equipment.”

Right now, D.C.-supported testing sites are welcoming anyone who believes they’ve been exposed to the coronavirus (seeing as we are in Phase 2), in addition to those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. It’s unclear how D.C. will respond to this request from ACLA, which is basically asking providers to return to the days when it was challenging for anyone to get tested.  

 —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)  

  • At Wednesday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser reminds D.C. residents to complete the 2020 Census. Do this online or by phone in English at 1 (844) 330-2020 or in Spanish at (844) 468-2020. Right now, the completion rate is 58 percent, which is below the nation’s at 62 percent. [Twitter]

  • As of July 15, D.C. reported three additional deaths related to COVID-19. This comes after five consecutive days of zero reported deaths. This means we lost 571 to COVID-19. D.C. also reported 80 new positive cases, bringing the total number to 11,026. D.C. also reported a transmission rate of 1.05 for the first time since late April, meaning we’ve lost ground on a key metric. [EOM]

  • Fewer than 6 percent of District residents who sought antibody testing tested positive for antibodies. [Post]

  • Zoning commission votes to enable more tiny homes and performance spaces in alleys.  [UrbanTurf]

  • Police officer clears Black Lives Matter Plaza of tents without wearing a mask. [Twitter]

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

  • How D.C.’s coronavirus response failed its Black residents. [APM]

  • What some of the at-large Council candidates think about housing policy, part 1. [GGW]

  • GGW founder David Alpert is stepping down. [GGW]

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

  • A couple says they were racially discriminated against at Old Ebbitt Grill. [NBC 4]

  • Critic Tim Carman pens a love letter to lobster rolls. [Post]

  • Burger King claims to combat climate change by helping cows emit less methane gas. [Post]

  • Behind the disguised cake craze that’s all over social media. [Eater]

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

  • How Staunton, Virginia’s American Shakespeare Center became one of the first theater companies nationwide to prepare live performances this summer. [Post]

  • Mosaic Theater Company will not produce its fall season. [DC Theatre Scene]

  • Shakespeare Theatre Company has laid off a third of its full-time staff. [Post]

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

  • The Red Tails, the nickname of the storied World War II African American pilot squadron, are the odds-on favorite to replace the Washington football team’s outgoing name. Tuskegee Airmen Inc., a nonprofit that oversees the history and image of the group, would welcome the choice. [WCP, Time

  • Choosing the Red Wolves moniker could help the species from going extinct, according to a scientist who works with red wolf conservation. [Post]

  • Wide receiver Kelvin Harmon will miss the 2020 season with a torn ACL. [ESPN]

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

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