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THE NEWS:

Homeless advocates suspected positive cases of the coronavirus disease would begin to reveal themselves in shelters as testing increased. Now, they have.

As of Tuesday, five individuals across three shelters have tested positive for COVID-19. Department of Human Services Director Laura Zeilingertells City Paperjust over 20 individuals have left the sheltersand moved into self-quarantine sites. 

“We will hold their beds for them so that in the end, they will have a safe place to come back to,” says Zeilinger. “We don’t want to give anybody a reason to feel that they have to make a trade-off between being able to come back to their space and seeking medical treatment or being able to self-quarantine.”

The challenges facing people experiencing homeless predate COVID-19. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, difficulty finding routine access to a bathroom or staying in a crowded shelter can be especially deadly. Homeless advocates are having to find workarounds. On Monday, DHS began moving unsheltered individuals at high risk of severe illness if they become infected into hotel rooms so they can proactively self-quarantine. 

“DC government folks are working around the clock to try to prevent the corona virus from killing 100s if not 1000s of people in shelters and on the street,” tweetsAmber Harding with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless. “It is an overwhelming, heartbreaking, behemoth undertaking precisely because we (as a whole) failed before we started.” 

Read the full story online. —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:

  • At Wednesday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser says there are now 11 deaths related to COVID-19. One of the two reported deaths announced Wednesday was a 71-year-old woman who died at home. This individual was not previously tested and the D.C. government learned of her COVID-19 status when she died. “We want everyone to be reaching out to their health care provider,” says Bowser. [Twitter]

  • With 91 new positive cases, the District’s total number of reported patients with COVID-19 is 586. The D.C. government is now releasing COVID-19 data in the mornings, ahead of the daily mayoral presser, and reporting cases by ward. Ward 6 has the highest reported cases of COVID-19 at 101. It is the largest ward and the only one to include portions of each of the four quadrants of the city. Ward 8 has the fewest reported cases at 44. The mayor cautioned against reading too much into the ward breakdown as her team has not drawn any conclusions. “We don’t have any hotspots in the city,” Bowser says. [EOM]   

  • Housing advocates caution against rent strikes. [DCist]

  • Metro confirms eight positive cases of COVID-19; four of those are bus operators. [Twitter]

  • A D.C. neighborhood started a stuffed animal scavenger hunt for cooped up families. [WCP]

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

  • DC Jail inmates are suing the Department of Corrections over conditions in the jail. [WCP]

  • Ward 8 Councilmember Trayon White visited the DC Jail yesterday after inmates and correctional officers raised concerns about conditions inside. [Instagram]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser sent out automated phone messages telling people to stay home. [Twitter]

  • On the first day of Bowser’s stay at home order, here are the essential businesses that remain open. [Post]

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

  • What if D.C.’s black-owned restaurants can’t recover from the effects of COVID-19? [WCP]

  • A local pizza shop is fighting to stay open. [WUSA]

  • Can laid off restaurant workers seamlessly pick up shifts in the booming grocery delivery business? [Eater]

  • How to only go grocery shopping every two weeks. [Post]

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

  • Amid stay-at-home orders, here’s what people can still do outside. [WAMU]

  • The Kennedy Center announces furloughs following $25 million federal grant. [Post]

  • Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker promises his virtual cartoon workshop will be “Somewhere between Mo Willems and the New Yorker.” [Washingtonian]

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

  • The Caps prepare for an uncertain future in regards to the rest of the NHL season. [WCP]

  • What do NBA players do when there are no games? Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura will take on Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz in the NBA 2K Players Tournament. The tournament features 16 NBA players competing against each other in NBA 2K20 and will begin on April 3 on ESPN. [NBC Sports Washington]

  • ESPN listed the rebuilding Washington NFL team 31st out of 32 teams in its post-free agency Power Rankings. [ESPN]

  • The District Track Club is hosting a virtual running clinic tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The free event (registration required) will include D.C. area running coaches and dive into topics about mental skills and how running programs are handling the pandemic. And remember: Running outside is OK, even with stay-at-home orders, but be mindful about keeping a physical distance of at least six feet from others. [RunWashington]

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

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