DC health department, other localities want White House event attendees to get tested for coronavirus
The Washington, D.C., Department of Health on Thursday released an open letter asking that White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden contact their health department for guidance on the possible need to quarantine after multiple attendees, including the president, tested positive for COVID.
The letter, co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions, indicates a lack of confidence in the White House medical team’s own contact tracing efforts regarding an ongoing virus outbreak that has infected President Donald Trump, multiple senior staff members, and two U.S. senators, among others.
The letter says the public appeal is based on “our preliminary understanding that there has been limited contact tracing performed to date, there may be other staff and residents at risk for exposure to COVID positive individuals.”
It asks individuals who have worked in the White House in the past two weeks, attendees of the Sept. 26 event and anyone who may have been in contact with those people to “contact your local health department for further guidance/questions regarding your potential need to quarantine.”
The letter marks abrupt shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously said it trusted the White House’s robust medical operation to handle its own contact tracing and follow-up. The Democratic mayor said earlier this week that repeated attempts to contact the White House over the outbreak had received a “very cursory” response but that she believed the necessary steps were being taken.
TRUMP ACKNOWLEDGES HE