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'We have no confirmed cases in DC. Prevention is the priority' | Officials discuss DC's coronavirus response plans

The District has already spent half a million dollars to outfit first responders with N95 masks in case there is the threat of COVID-19 in the nation's capital.

WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed a room full of reporters Tuesday, to discuss the district's ongoing plan to combat coronavirus if it were ever to make its way to the district. 

The mayor said at this point, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in D.C. The head of D.C. Department of Health echoed that the risk of coronavirus in the district at this point remains low. Officials said they will be responsible for implementing the district's emergency response plan if needed. 

Bowser says the DC Department of Health will be the lead agency.

Monday, the mayor discussed her plan with DC city council members and today, she will hold a call with neighborhood commissioners as the district tries to beef up it's planning. 

The mayor also says D.C. has spent half a million dollars from a reserve fund to outfit first responders with N95 masks.

The district's emergency response center is now operating on an "enhanced watch" to monitor the development of COVID-19. 

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"We have also activated our finance section to ensure we are tracking any costs associated with the district's response to COVID-19," Dr. Christopher Rodriguez said. Rodriguez is the director of DC's Department of Homeland Security.

Rodriguez said they have also activated their public affairs section to ensure accurate and factual messaging to the public.

The DC Health Laboratory is also capable now of testing up to 25 samples a day of suspected coronavirus. By next week, the lab will be able to test up to 80 samples per day.

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"As of Monday, we began testing or have the capacity to do testing on samples. We have been working with DC Health to submit to CDC if individuals need that testing," Jenifer Smith said, the head of DC's Department of Forensic Sciences. So far, six people total have been tested for COVID-19.

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  • Number of patients being monitored by DC Health and tested for COVID-19 (PUIs): 6
  • Number of negative results: 5
  • Number of pending results: 1
  • Number of laboratory-confirmed cases: 0

The mayor says the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival will continue to go on, as she says 90% of attendees tend to be locals. But she says some sponsors are pulling out because of the coronavirus. 

The mayor urges residents to check out their website to keep updated on facts concerning the virus.

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