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The Washington, D.C., Department of Health on Thursday recorded the highest number of daily positive COVID-19 cases in the city’s history since the pandemic began.
D.C. recorded 844 positive COVID-19 cases on Dec. 16 — a record high for the city after its last record of 508 daily cases on Dec. 15. Prior to this month, the U.S. capital’s previous record was 357 daily positive cases on Jan. 7, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris recently told the Los Angeles Times in an interview that the White House was unprepared for both delta and omicron variants of the virus.
“We didn’t see delta coming. I think most scientists did not — upon whose advice and direction we have relied — didn’t see delta coming,” she said in an interview with the outlet published Friday. “We didn’t see omicron coming. And that’s the nature of what this, this awful virus has been, which as it turns out, has mutations and variants.”
The D.C. Department of Health could not confirm which of the 844 cases logged for Thursday were the omicron variant. Despite the recent surge in new cases, COVID-19-related fatalities have remained low; one 62-year-old resident died of the virus on Thursday.
A number of D.C. restaurants and businesses have posted notices on social media saying they would be closing due to staff members testing positive.
There have been more than 70,000 confirmed cases in D.C. since the pandemic began.
The weekly case rate has increased to about 300 per 100,000 residents compared to just 84.3 last month as of Thursday. Weekly hospitalizations, however, have decreased as of Dec. 16 from 5.1% last month to 4.5% this month.
The House of Representatives continues to debate two Articles of Impeachment of President Donald Trump at US Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
D.C. residents can pick up and drop off free at-home testing kits at 27 locations across the city if they register online, according to D.C. Health Department Public Affairs Specialist James Tyll.
There are also district-operated walk-up testing sites, and many D.C. health care clinics offer testing options.
More than 66% of D.C. residents have been fully vaccinated; the Department of Health’s website says about 2% of positive cases are breakthroughs.
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