The district continues to set records for new cases of COVID-19 every day, with 1,904 new cases reported on Thursday. But the good news is that hospital stays and deaths have not increased.
Since free rapid test kits were first distributed on Wednesday, DC has distributed tens of thousands of them, far more than the mayor announced. DC residents stand in long lines to get them.
When DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that they would be distributing kits to eight district libraries, the plan was to only distribute 1,000 kits per day at each location. But because the demand is so great and the district received an shipment of 200,000 additional kits, the DC Department of Health spent far more than expected. As of Thursday, they had 43,000 kits available and were handing out 21,000.
“You will continue to see us postpone these, not just a thousand a day. We will continue to give these to the people who need them,” said Patrick Ashley of the public health department.
Ashley said the district will soon have nearly half a million test kits on hand.
“Earlier this week we received our full shipment of 200,000. We know there will be another shipment of 200,000 on Sunday, the day after Christmas, so we can better serve these individuals in the church, ”said.
As for the spike in new cases, Ashley expects the number of new cases to continue to rise and, while worrying, there has been no spike in deaths or hospital admissions to date.
There are currently around 164 patients with COVID-19 in DC hospitals.
“We are currently at 82% for our hospital capacity in the district. That hasn’t changed much, ”said Ashley.
“But what we see from the patients in the hospital, or the COVID patients in the hospital in particular, most of them are all unvaccinated, and so if you are ‘unvaccinated, you are much more likely to end up in the hospital,” he added.
The district has ordered 5 million test kits. It will resume distribution of the free kits to eight libraries across the city on Monday, one in each ward.