Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed Tuesday there were no Chinese coronavirus-related deaths reported in the nation’s capital over the last 24 hours, marking the first day without fatalities since the numbers began to accumulate in late March.
D.C. confirmed its first case of COVID-19, the disease produced by the virus, on March 7.
“Today, we report that no D.C. resident lost their life to COVID on May 25, which is a good thing,” Bowser told reporters on Tuesday. Data provided by Bowser’s office showed that D.C. marked its first day with no deaths since March on Monday.
— Mayor Muriel Bowser #StayHomeDC (@MayorBowser) May 26, 2020
After seeing a slight increase in new cases over the weekend, Bowser indicated that the city is back on track to begin a gradual reopening on Friday, “barring any new spikes.”
“Tomorrow, we hope that the [downward] trends will continue, and we will be able to provide next steps on Phased One opening to be effective on this Friday, May 29,” Bowser said.
However, the mayor suggested that the target date for reopening could change if conditions on the ground call for it.
“We will continue to follow the science and begin our phased reopening when the data suggests that we can,” she said on Tuesday.
Bowser announced that the district stands one day away from the 14-day sustained decline in the community spread — based on a five-day moving average — it needs to begin reopening non-essential businesses shut down to stem the spread of the highly contagious disease.
“If the trend holds, we will be able to report 14 days of decline tomorrow,” she proclaimed. “We, of course, track community spread to understand whether we are able to manage and rapidly respond to any new increases.”
D.C. also has sufficient healthcare capacity, data unveiled by the mayor showed. The district was reportedly operating at a bed occupancy rate of over 70 percent as of Sunday, which means hundreds of beds were still available, independent and city government assessments showed.
The hospital bed occupancy rate has been below 80 percent for over 14 days, double the amount of days needed for reopening, Bowser’s data noted.
In D.C., the COVID-19 transmission rate has also been low for 14 days, well beyond the three days required for a phased reopening, the mayor’s data further revealed.
Currently, the nation’s capital can test all priority groups, as mandated by the district’s reopening guidelines.
D.C. also has a “sufficient” capacity to contact trace all new cases and their close contacts, information from the mayor’s office showed.
As of noon on Tuesday, 8,334 D.C. residents had tested positive for coronavirus, about 20 percent of the people tested, and 440 had lost their lives. The cumulative number of new cases is still increasing.