Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday she is extending D.C.’s indoor mask mandate until the end of February.
The mandate, reinstated in December as cases began to surge with the spread of the Omicron variant, was set to expire next week, but Bowser said D.C.’s falling but still high caseload has necessitated the extension. Earlier this month, the District started to require proof of vaccination for entry to certain indoor venues, like restaurants, bars and gyms.
Bowser also extended the public health emergency – which would have expired Wednesday – until Feb. 15 to mitigate staffing shortages and other concerns at hospitals as they address a surge of patients. Although the number of cases has decreased since December, the order states hospitals are still under “stress” from the number of people seeking COVID-19 tests, treatment and ventilators.
“By extending the limited public health emergency, the District and our health care partners can continue to respond expeditiously and safely to COVID-19 and its ongoing and changing impacts,” the order reads.
D.C. is reporting an average of about 417 new daily cases, which is down from an average of more than 2,000 daily new cases at the beginning of January. Cases at GW have also fallen in recent days, with officials reporting 238 positive cases last week.
This article appeared in the January 27, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.