D.C. metrics trending in the right direction for reopening

Heather Curtis

WMAL.com

MARYLAND (WMAL) – Washingtonians may soon start to get a taste of freedom. As other parts of the country and region start to reopen, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said last week that the city’s not ready and extended the stay-at-home order through June 8. But  Bowser said Monday the metrics are trending in the right direction.

Bowser’s criteria to start reopening the city includes a decrease in community spread of COVID-19 over 14 days, a community transmission rate below 1% for three days, fewer hospitalizations, and more testing and contact tracing capacity. As of Monday, there was a decrease in community spread for 8 days, a transmission rate below 1% for more than three days and fewer hospitalizations. She said testing is also on track, and the city’s tracing capability is almost where it needs to be.

The District’s guidelines mirror those President Donald Trump’s Opening Up America Again plan recommends municipalities meet before moving into phased reopening plans. Last Friday Maryland and Virginia entered phase 1 of their reopening plans, but Northern Virginia and counties in Maryland that are closest to D.C. and Baltimore did not reopen due to the high number of cases. On May 8 Bowser said the city was not ready to reopen and pointed to the fact that it had one of the highest numbers of deaths since the pandemic began that day. But Monday she took a more hopeful tone as she pointed to the promising numbers.

“So we’re on track,” Bowser said after going through the numbers.

Bowser and the reopen D.C. steering committee will meet Thursday to talk about plans to reopen various sectors of the city’s economy.

“That will put us even closer by Thursday, barring some unforeseen spike, to, to be able to talk a little bit about more when we can begin a phased reopening,” Bowser said.

Sunday neighboring Maryland reported the lowest number of COVID-19 patients since April 25. Gov. Larry Hogan has said hospitalizations are a key metric he is using to determine how quickly Maryland can reopen.

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