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D.C.-area health departments fault contact-tracing efforts amid White House coronavirus outbreak

ASSOCIATED PRESS



a group of people in a park: President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a Sept. 26 ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.


© Associated Press
President Donald Trump, center, stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett as they arrive for a Sept. 26 ceremony to announce Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary step, the Washington, D.C., Department of Health has released an open letter appealing to all White House staff and anyone who attended a Sept. 26 event in the Rose Garden to seek medical advice and take a COVID-19 test.

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The letter 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.

News Pulse: White House is not tracing contacts of guests and staff at Rose Garden event 10 days ago: New York Times

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Co-signed by nine other local health departments from neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia, the letter flatly states a belief that contact tracing on the outbreak has been insufficient.

It 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 all White House employees, anyone who attended 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 represents a rising level of concern and a clear shift in strategy by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s government, which had previously remained publicly hands-off and said

Fire departments sounding the alarm on kitchen fires during annual Fire Prevention Week

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Smokey the Bear said, “Only you can prevent forest fires,” but he never said anything about kitchen fires – the leading cause of home fires across the United States.

“It only takes a second for something to go up in a big fire,” Art Kohn, with the Virginia Beach Fire Department, told News 3.

Kohn shared pictures showing the aftermath of a kitchen fire in Virginia Beach. Most of the charred ruins appeared to be near the stove, the walls and cabinetry were damaged and burned and parts of the ceiling came down.

“You don’t want to have that,” Kohn said. “You don’t want to experience that.”

This week, from October 4 to October 10, is Fire Prevention Week, a week-long observation to promote fire prevention and safety organized by the National Fire Protection Association. This year’s theme surrounds kitchen fires.

“Most, if not all, of these fires, are preventable,” Kohn said.

From 2014 to 2018, there were 550 deaths as a result of kitchen fires, according to Kohn and statistics from the NFPA. He added this number was greater than the number of similar deaths from 1980 to 1984.

“It’s a firefighter’s worst nightmare, to have to deliver news like that to a loved one,” Kohn said.

Most of those deaths are due to smoke inhalation, Kohn said. Kitchen fires also left more than 4,800 people injured in the same time period.

“Most of the injuries, the severe injuries that occur to people who are dealing with a kitchen fire, are because they tried to put it out themselves,” Kohn said.

So what can you do to make sure you don’t become a statistic? Kohn advised to not leave a stove on with the burners running unattended.

If you have to step away, Kohn suggested,