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Bowser Cautious About Reopening City, Says Social Distancing Still Necessary

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that while she wants to reopen the city for business and get back to normal life amid the coronavirus pandemic like other residents, she is wary of rushing into such a decision.

The mayor stressed during her daily press briefing that safe distancing is still a vital part of the recovery and that residents must stay diligent in adhering to those practices.

“To move forward without a vaccine or cure, we must weigh the risks and adapt,” Bowser said. “Yes, we have made progress fighting the virus since it came to the city two months ago. We have more [personal protective equipment], more testing, more contact tracers, more hospital capacity, more social distancing and people are wearing more face masks. Nevertheless, we do need residents who have the virus to separate yourself from other people, avoid sharing household items with family members and others and wear a face mask when around other people.”

D.C. Health Department Director LaQuandra Nesbitt, who also attended the briefing, said that though a lot of attention has gone to the pandemic in recent months, residents who need other medical treatment that requires a hospital visit should go to a facility without hesitation.

“There is a misconception in the community that all D.C. hospitals do is serve patients who are positive with the coronavirus,” Nesbitt said. “That is simply not true. Our hospitals and health centers are available to any resident that needs their services. I would advise, however, that anyone needing medical attention first speak with their personal care physician before going to a hospital or a health center.”

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