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Mayor Bowser Expands Coronavirus Testing for Essential Workers

Tuesday, April 28, 2020
Under New Guidance, Asymptomatic Grocery Store Workers and Other Critical Infrastructure Workers with a Known COVID-19 Contact Will Be Prioritized for Testing

(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that the District is expanding the criteria for priority coronavirus (COVID-19) testing to include critical infrastructure workers with a history of exposure to a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient. This includes grocery store workers, essential government employees, and other workers who continue to report to work in the District.

“Every day, we have workers out in the community ensuring we have access to food and other essential products and services, and those workers are safer and so is everyone else when we know who has the virus and who has been exposed to it,” said Mayor Bowser. “We already know that testing and contact tracing will play a critical role in every stage of our response and recovery, and this expansion is one more strategy for slowing the spread, protecting workers, and saving lives.”

“This is a big step in the right direction toward 100% testing for every grocery worker on the frontlines of this crisis,” said Dyana Forester, UFCW Local 400, Director of Political and Community Affairs. “Our hard-working union members in grocery stores interact with hundreds of customers per day and thousands in a week. Every day, they come to work knowing they are putting themselves and their families at risk in order to keep District residents fed. It is critical that they have access to testing to ensure the safety of our grocery stores and food supply chains. We support any effort to increase the availability of free testing as we work toward our goal to provide access to free testing for 100% of grocery workers.”

Symptomatic critical infrastructure workers were already classified as a priority group for COVID-19 testing. Last week, Mayor Bowser expanded the testing criteria to include health care workers, first responders, and certain vulnerable populations who are asymptomatic but have a history of exposure to a laboratory confirmed COVID-19 patient. Vulnerable populations include: patients in long-term care facilities; patients 65 years of age and older; and patients with underlying health conditions.

The District currently provides free COVID-19 testing at United Medical Center (UMC) and University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC) Bertie Backus Campus. There are additional free testing sites across the District. To schedule a free testing appointment, residents and workers can call the COVID-19 testing hotline at 1-855-363-0333 for English, or 1-844-796-2797 for English and Spanish.

For more information about the District’s COVID-19 response, visit coronavirus.dc.gov.