DC expands at-home coronavirus testing program

Tourists stand in line for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on Thursday, August 5, 2021 in Washington, D.C.
Greg Nash

Washington, D.C., expanded COVID-19 testing efforts on Thursday, offering 11 new sites where residents could pick up and drop off coronavirus testing kits. 

The development is a part of a larger initiative in D.C., called the Test Yourself DC program, which provides people the opportunity to either take a COVID-19 test kit home and drop off samples later that day, or take a COVID-19 test on site. 

Currently, the city operates the program at 16 public libraries, but this initiative would add 11 additional sites where COVID-19 tests could be made accessible. The city said those 11 sites would be added next week.

The city said that the added sites would allow “almost all of DC within a 20-minute walk of a Test Yourself DC site,” according to the city’s press release.

The District, which has reimplemented a mask mandate indoors since late July, has seen an uptick of new COVID-19 infections. 

On Wednesday, the city saw 125 new COVID-19 cases and 133 the day prior, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The district has seen new daily cases rise as high as 196 infections on Aug. 13. Though those figures may seem small in comparison to other cities, D.C. had reported daily new cases in the single digits in June.

About 77 percent of D.C. residents aged 12 years and older have been partially vaccinated, and 66 percent are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

But despite the use of vaccines, the spread of the delta variant among unvaccinated communities has made efforts to control the COVID-19 pandemic harder for states and cities across the country. 

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave its full approval for the Pfizer vaccine.

The move has made localities and businesses more hopeful that individuals who were previously hesitant to get the jab may consider getting vaccinated now.

Tags CDC COVID-19 COVID-19 testing D.C. FDA

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