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Note: We’ll be pushing the publishing of our daily news roundup by an hour or two for as long as the mayor has 11 a.m. COVID-19 press conferences.
Five residents in DC Jail have tested positive for the coronavirus illness. The Department of Corrections’ announcement of more positive cases on Sunday comes as incarcerated people and their advocates continue to sound the alarm that the department’s response to the pandemic is insufficient.
The DOC Director of Strategic Communications says its medical department, along with Unity Health Care, will work with DC Health on contact tracing. (Contact tracing identifies who the infected patient has been in contact with, helping those individuals get care faster and helping prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.) But the union representing DC Jail’s correctional officers says “tracing” and “investigations” conducted thus far are “ineffective.”
In a press release on Sunday, the Department of Corrections Labor Committee of the Fraternal Order of Police says the quarantine of more than 65 incarcerated persons after exposure to an infected patient at D.C. Superior Court only lasted two days without anyone being tested. The quarantine was lifted after a full investigation conducted by DC Health concluded that none of the individuals were in contact with the infected patient.
“DOC misleads the public in its reporting of positive cases of COVID-19 among inmates. Testing is inadequate at the D.C. Jail,” the union writes.
The union goes on to say that the city does not have the resources to combat COVID-19 and DC Jail is “the lowest priority.” The union has expressed frustration before and unanimously voted “no confidence” in its leadership more than a week ago. Among the correctional officers’ concerns is that they are not being given protective equipment, as federally recommended. Until they are given essential items such as masks, officers are going to “shelter in place” in self-contained areas within the jail.
“Corrections officers will not leave the bubble for contact work with inmates unless provided with the appropriate PPE. This includes conducting security checks while inmates are on the floor and delivering meals to cells,” the union writes.
In the press release, the union says testing is not being made available for officers. Any officer exposed or showing symptoms is sent home to self-quarantine or has to go to the hospital for testing. On Monday, the executive announced a new testing center specifically for first responders, including corrections officers. A doctor’s referral is still required.
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CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez:
At Monday’s press conference, Mayor Muriel Bowser said anyone—regardless of immigration status—with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) needs to call a health care provider and seek treatment. For those without a provider, they should call Mary’s Center at (844-796-2797. [Twitter]
There are now nine known deaths related to COVID-19, including a 39-year-old male—the youngest death related to the illness so far in D.C. With 59 new positive cases, the District’s total number of reported patients with COVID-19 is 401. As of Sunday night, 3,085 patients have been tested in public and private labs. [EOM]
Father Tim Cole with Christ Church Georgetown, D.C.’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient, was discharged from the hospital Thursday after spending 3 weeks in the hospital. [WTOP]
What will it take to develop and widely distribute a COVID-19 vaccine? [Intercept]
ICYMI: School nurses are being told to volunteer in D.C.’s COVID-19 efforts or be laid off effective Tuesday, March 31. [WCP]
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
D.C. public defenders ask to release all misdemeanants from the DC Jail. [WCP]
FEMA issues major disaster declaration in D.C. [Twitter]
Trump’s contradictory messages and delayed response to COVID-19 are hampering regional leaders. [Post]
Businesses board up storefronts as uncertainty reigns. [Post]
- ICYMI: Someone(s) trolled an ANC meeting with sex moans and fart noises. [WCP, Twitter]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? email@example.com)
The newly founded DC Hospitality Coalition wants to save as many restaurants as possible. [WCP]
What are farmers markets like right now? [Washingtonian]
The stimulus package doesn’t do enough for small restaurant owners and workers. [Eater]
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall(tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
How the go-go community is keeping the music alive during the coronavirus pandemic. [WCP]
Four theater artists share how the pandemic has impacted their lives and their art. [DC Theatre Scene]
Dr. Anthony Fauci merch is a thing now. [Washingtonian]
SPORTS LINKS, byKelyn Soong (tips? email@example.com)
Terrance Burke, the head boys’ basketball coach at Northwestern High School, died on Friday after testing positive for COVID-19. He was 54. Fifteen people have died from the novel coronavirus in Maryland. [NBC4, Post, Patch]
Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung has declared for the NBA Draft, but will retain his college eligibility after signing with an NBA/NCAA certified agent. [NBC Sports Washington]
The NBA season may be suspended, but the Wizards are dominating virtually, winning four straight games in NBA 2K20’s simulated world. [Bullets Forever]
Former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback and Oxon Hill native Ronald Darby has signed with the local NFL team on a one-year, $4 million deal. [WTOP]
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