Bowser extends social distancing period for DC until April 27

Bowser extends social distancing period for DC until April 27
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Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDC mayor launches .3M initiative to provide low-income students with free internet access DC police release bodycam footage of officer fatally shooting 18-year-old Democratic mayors rip Trump funding threat: We're not 'political pawns' MORE (D) lengthened the social distancing period for the nation's capital on Friday, extending the timeline to April 27.

This means that District schools, which were scheduled to be closed until March 31, will now be closed until at least April 24. Additionally, nonessential government workers will continue to telecommute and the ban on large gatherings will remain in place.

Bowser also urged D.C. residents to "stay home" this weekend, saying that residents should only go outside if for an "essential" task, such as buying groceries. The annual cherry blossom festival, which usually attracts tourists from around the country, was scheduled to start Friday.

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The mayor's announcement comes as the District reported its first coronavirus-related death earlier on Friday.

"It is with great sadness that we announce a tragic death and, on behalf of our residents, I share our love and condolences with the patient’s family and friends," Bowser tweeted.

On Thursday, D.C. reported 32 new cases of the virus, bringing the District's total to 71. At her press conference Friday, Bowser said that District health officials expect the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to steadily increase in the coming days and weeks.

Overall, there are more than 14,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 200 deaths.