City Cast

Staying On Top of DC's COVID-19 Surge

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on August 31
Covid Test

COVID-19 tests are getting harder to find in the District. (Tang Ming Tung/Getty Images)

COVID-19 hospitalizations in D.C. have been rising this summer, but it definitely doesn’t feel like a pandemic out here. Everyone's out and about. So how seriously should we be taking this? We asked Politico health reporter Chelsea Ciruzzo what we should be doing.

What do the numbers say?

Hospitalizations in D.C. have risen 29% between June and July, meanwhile in Maryland they rose 39% in the same time frame and Virginia rose 15%. The majority of cases are from a new variant EG.5. Although these numbers might seem alarming, they are still far below what they were during the peak pandemic. The community “threat” level is still low.

How do I get a test?

Sadly, D.C. has discontinued its free rapid testing program. The easiest way to get a test is at your local drugstore. They run between $10 - $25. You can also pick one up from your doctor's office or order them on Amazon for quick delivery. PCR testing is only available at your doctor and limited CVS’s.

Cirruzzo adds that “DC Health is taking their stockpile of tests and masks and giving them to community organizations, which will be handing them out at local events,” so keep an eye out.

How do I get the booster?

A new booste​​r is expected to get FDA approval in mid-September, with shots available later this fall. Cirruzzo confirmed that D.C. has already ordered the vaccines, which they will give to public and private providers. But this time, you need to go through your doctor or pharmacy to get it using insurance.

What should I do in the meantime?

Stay true to the best practices we all know and love. Masking, washing hands, and staying home when you’re feeling sick to protect others.

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