Oct 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

D.C. urges Rose Garden ceremony attendees to get tested for COVID-19

taff and visitors listen as President Donald J. Trump speaks with Judge Amy Coney Barrett during a ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden
Staff and visitors during a ceremony to announce Barrett as Trump's nominee to the Supreme Court in the Rose Garden. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Washington, D.C. Department of Health on Thursday asked attendees and White House staff at the Rose Garden celebration for the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26 to seek medical advice and get tested for COVID-19 by their local health department.

Why it matters: The outbreak tied to the White House contributed to an increase in the District's caseload. D.C. experienced a 26% increase last week, rising from some 40 new cases per day to about 50.

  • The letter, which was co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, expresses doubt the Trump administration sufficiently contact traced the outbreak.

What they're saying: “Given the growing numbers of positive COVID cases reported from staff working in and near the White House, people who attended the event hosted by the White House on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”

The big picture: Prior to the outbreak, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had not publicly commented on any of the White House's coronavirus practices, which have violated several D.C. virus regulations.

  • For several months, White House tours and events have had no mask mandates and sometimes had more than 50 attendees.

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