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DC Health Issues Indoor Mask Advisory

Thursday, December 2, 2021

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The CDC is continuously monitoring variants and recommends that all people wear a mask indoors in public if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Based on DC’s current transmission rate of substantial community spread, DC Health, led by Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, advises residents to continue to follow prevention measures to protect themselves against COVID-19. As more information is gathered about the Omicron variant, it is critical that individuals follow the health advisory and get vaccinated, and/or receive booster doses.

On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a Variant of Concern and named it Omicron and on November 30, 2021, the United States also classified it as a Variant of Concern. CDC has been actively monitoring and preparing for this variant, and they will continue to work diligently with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more. Despite the detection of Omicron, Delta remains the predominant strain in the United States.

DC Health Advisory includes recommendations for indoors in public settings, and required, regardless of vaccination status in:

  • Any private business that wants a mask requirement;
  • On public transport like buses and trains, inside train stations, in airports, and while in ride share vehicles;
  • Inside schools, childcare facilities, and libraries;
  • Congregate facilities, such as nursing homes/assisted living facilities, shelters, dorms/residences, and correctional facilities; and
  • In DC Government facilities where there is direct interaction between employees and the public (e.g., DMV service center; DHS service center, etc.).

Preventative measures other than mask wearing include washing your hands frequently and physically distancing from others.

Currently, everyone 5 years and older can protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated. Residents can get their primary series of COVID-19 vaccination in the District by doing the following:

  1. Go to a doctor
  2. Find a local pharmacy and schedule and an appointment (vaccines.gov)
  3. Visit a DC Government walk-up location any day of the week (vaccinate.dc.gov)
  4. Request a vaccination at-home by calling 1-855-363-0333.

If individuals are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose or an additional dose, DC Health urges residents to do so. On Monday, Dec. 6, there will be a couple changes to the following district-operated vaccine sites:

  • Capitol View Library will replace Benning Library as a vaccination site
  • Pediatric vaccines (ages 5–11) will be available at additional walk-up sites, not just school-based clinics
  • Families can book at-home vaccination appointments for children ages 5–11
  • Adults accompanying children at pediatric vaccination clinics can also receive their COVID-19 vaccine, including boosters

To find a vaccination site near you, just go to vaccine.dc.gov and type in your zip code. If individuals are unsure of their next plan of action, please consult with a medical provider to find the best layered mitigation strategy for you.