(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District’s COVID-19 Action Plan, including the declaration of a public emergency; the expansion of testing, including new Test Yourself DC sites, the launch of the new Test Yourself Express Program, and the use of rapid tests for students and staff as they return from winter break; reinstating of the indoor mask mandate; implementation of a DC government vaccine mandate to include boosters; and the creation of COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination sites.
DC Health is expanding the availability of PCR tests. In addition, to the eight firehouse testing sites and the existing 27 Test Yourself DC pick-up and drop-off sites, the District is adding nine new sites to pick up and drop off at-home PCR tests – for a total of 36 sites.
DC Health has also ordered 1,050,000 rapid antigen tests — 150,000 BinaxNOW and 900,000 iHealth Antigen tests. Of those tests, 42,000 are currently on-hand and 200,000 Antigen tests are in transit to Washington, DC.
The Test Yourself Express program will provide residents with free at-home rapid Antigen COVID-19 tests. Beginning Wednesday, December 22, the rapid antigen COVID-19 tests will be available at eight District libraries, six days a week. District residents will be able to access a maximum of two kits per day, and proof of DC residency will be required, (e.g., a DC ID or a piece of mail with a DC address) to get a test.
After using a rapid at-home test, residents should report their results to DC Health at coronavirus.dc.gov/overthecounter.
The following locations will be Test Yourself Express sites beginning Wednesday, December 22:
Indoor Mask Mandate
The Mayor also announced that beginning Tuesday, December 21 at 6 am, the indoor mask mandate will be reinstated until January 31, 2022 at 6 am.
DC Government Vaccine Mandate
A new vaccine mandate has also been put in place, where all employees, contractors, interns, and grantees of DC Government must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and must have a booster. There will be no test-out option. DC Government will engage labor partners on a specific deadline.
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Centers
COVID-19 Testing and Vaccination Centers will also give residents more certainty in where and when to find testing and vaccines, and allow DC Health to flex hours as needed. The announced plan is for the Testing and Vaccination Centers to begin to come online in the second half of January with the goal of one center per ward. The District is also calling on property owners with potential sites to work with the DC Government to use those sites as Testing and Vaccination centers. Property owners interested in participating can reach out to DC Government at retailspace.dc.gov.
DCPS Winter Break Return
The Mayor and Chancellor also announced that DC Public Schools will be closed for instruction on Monday, January 3 and Tuesday, January 4. Staff and families will use those days to pick-up rapid antigen tests. DC Public Schools will continue to update families on pick-up options for rapid tests and meals on those days.
Do Your Part: Get Vaccinated and Boosted
Mayor Bowser reminds every resident five and older to get vaccinated, if they haven’t done so already. Anyone 16 or older who has received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna on or before June 20, 2021, or who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or before October 20, 2021 is encouraged to get a booster dose as soon as possible. In addition, all District residents six months and older should get vaccinated with the flu vaccine to protect themselves and the health care system. Residents can get a COVID-19 vaccination in the District by doing the following:
- Go to a doctor
- Find a local pharmacy and schedule and an appointment (vaccines.gov)
- Visit a DC Government walk-up location listed on vaccinate.dc.gov
- Request a vaccination at-home by calling 1-855-363-0333