Jan 18, 2022 - COVID

D.C. debuts new COVID testing and vaccination centers

Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health workers at a COVID testing and vaccination center

Mayor Muriel Bowser tours D.C.'s new COVID-19 center in Ward 7. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

The District on Tuesday opened four new walk-in COVID-19 centers where residents can get vaccinated and tested, with four more planned to open next week across the city.

Why it matters: As the pandemic enters its third year, officials see the need to continue opening permanent vaccination and testing sites. The facilities debut as the case rate in the nation's capital declines after briefly leading the country.

  • The sites have all three vaccines, including boosters and the pediatric shots for children ages 5 and over.
  • The centers provide PCR testing and will also hand out rapid self-test kits, on top of the current distribution schedule at libraries and fire stations. DC Health personnel will be able to assist with self-test kits, which are typically meant to be used at home.
  • The first four sites are in wards 1, 2, 7, and 8. At least one site will be open seven days a week, with some closed on Sundays. They are open from 10am to 8pm most days with some variations in hours.

By the numbers: An estimated 89% of D.C. residents have received at least one vaccine dose, and over 68% are fully vaccinated, according to city data.

  • But vaccination rates remain low in lower-income neighborhoods and Black communities, where access to healthcare has long been inadequate. Only 34% of residents in Ward 8 are vaccinated, the lowest in the city.

State of play: The city is coming down from its peak of COVID cases. Daily cases per 100,000 residents have dropped 57% from a Jan. 4 peak of 288 cases, according to the latest D.C. data.

  • There are 601 people with COVID-19 in city hospitals, down from a peak of 736 on Jan. 10.
  • Five new deaths were reported between Jan. 14 and 17.

What's next: Locations for four more city-run COVID-19 centers will be announced this week in the rest of the wards.

  • “We know [the pandemic is] going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at the opening of the Ward 7 center at 3925 Minnesota Ave., NE. “So we have recognized that we have to adapt to these realities and stay ahead of the curve.”

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