ANC 6A Hears COVID-19 Update

May ANC 6A Meeting Report

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Chair Amber Gove (6A04) convened the May 14, 2020 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A to order via WebEx with Commissioners Marie-Claire Brown (6A01), Phil Toomajian (6A02), Mike Soderman (6A03), Ruth Ann Hudson (6A05), Stephanie Zimny (6A06), Sondra Phillips-Gilbert (6A07) and Brian Alcorn (6A08) all in attendance.

Coronavirus Conditions Across DC
Although Preetha Iyengar, MD, from the Division of Epidemiology Disease Surveillance and Investigation for the the DC Department of Health (DOH) could not predict what the coming days or weeks may hold under Mayor Bowser’s Stay At Home Order, she did share a battery of statistics, demonstrating to residents in ANC6A how closely the DC DOH is monitoring the current health crisis and what metrics the city will have to hit to begin the Mayor’s multi-phase reopening plan.

As of Thursday night’s ANC 6A meeting, according to DC’s primary source for Coronavirus related data and resources, Washington DC had 6,871 confirmed infections out of 34,339 residents tested. Dr. Iyengar shared that DC was experiencing a two-day increase in ventilator and hospital bed use, but a three day decrease in daily reported incidents and as well as a three-day decrease in virus related deaths. Ward 4 currently has the highest rate of infection, hypothesized to be due to the high number of health care and other essential workers living and working in that ward while Ward 3 has the lowest rate of infection. Dr. Iyengar explained that the DC DOH believes the peak of infection to have been on April 24 with an estimated 22% of initial infections due to outside travel into the city whereas the majority of infections now are due to local transmissions. Males ages 31 to 40 and 51 to 60 are experiencing the highest burden of infection while the over 80 years age group still has the greatest rate of fatalities.

Before beginning phased reopening, DC must meet specific criteria based on Mayor Bowser’s reopening guidelines including a 14-day sustained decrease in spread of the virus, a transmission rate of less than 1.0 for three days, (the rate is .9 as of the ANC meeting,) less than 80% of available healthcare facilities can be occupied, (we are at approximately 73% capacity to date), and the ability to contract trace all new cases within one day which includes having the IT infrastructure to manage all of this data. Once we have reached these thresholds, the city can begin the first of a multi-step plan for gradually reopening the city. This multi-phase plan, dubbed ReOpen DC, will be overseen by an advisory group consisting of former Mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty, DC Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Former Assistant Secretary Nicole Lurie, CFO Jeffrey DeWitt, the Mayor’s Senior Advisor Beverly Perry and chaired by Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary Michael Chertoff who will further be advised by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The initial plan establishes three phases; our current phase referred to as Emergency Response followed Stabilization wherein restrictions will be relaxed but metrics will continue to be closely monitored hopefully leading to Long-Term Recovery, or a return to near-normal operations of the city.

Though we are still currently in the initial phase, Emergency Response, Tyler Williams, the Ward 6 Liaison from the Mayor’s Office of Community Relations and Services reminded residents of a number of services provided by the DC government to assist those in need during this crisis. To locate one of the ten public testing sites across DC, call 1-855-363-0333. If you need assistance self-isolating or are otherwise homebound and struggling to receive food call, 1-888-349-8323. Ms. Williams also reminded the ANC that most grocery stores are offering senior shopping hours, which vary store to store and that DC has also established week-day grocery distribution sites around the city, one of which is located at Eastern High School and runs on a first-come first-serve basis on Monday’s between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm.  The Mayor announced that DC Public Schools will operate remotely for the remainder of the school year which will end early on May 29. Tyler said The DC Board of Elections is encouraging all residents to request mail-in ballots for the upcoming primary election though voting centers will be open in each ward beginning May 22 through June 2, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Strict social distancing and health precautions will be enforced at all voting centers. To request a mail-in ballot or to locate your voting center, visit www.dcboe.org. Additional data, updated daily, related to the current health crisis including in-depth demographic and neighborhood breakdowns of those effected as well as a number of resources available through the DC government can be found by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov.

Motions and Recommendations

  1. The Commissioners voted, unanimously to send a letter to the Distrcit Department of Transportation (DDOT) to request that DDOT pursue sidewalk extensions on blocks near essential businesses, including restaurants to allow for safe outdoor seating. Additional requests for extended sidewalks for safely distanced pedestrian activity will also be proposed.
  2. The Commissioner voted, unanimously to approve the appointment of Jason Gresh to the Community Outreach Committee.
  3. The Commissioners voted, unanimously, to table the recommendation to send a letter of support to the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) for a special exception under the penthouse height requirements and to permit a trellis that does not conform with the side building wall setbacks to construct two three-story buildings with penthouses at 909 and 911 I Street, NE (BZA Number BZA-TMP1070) in the RF-1 Zone, on condition that the applicant make best efforts to get letters of support from the neighbors at 823, 825 and 827 9th Street, NE, that the applicant remove the trellises from the roof deck, remove the side balconies, move the planned solar panels to the back of the roof, and make the back of the roof deck inaccessible.

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COVID Contacts
To locate one of the ten public testing sites across DC, call 1-855-363-0333.

If you need assistance self-isolating or are otherwise homebound and struggling to receive food call, 1-888-349-8323.

To request a mail-in ballot or to locate your voting center, visit www.dcboe.org.

Additional data, updated daily, related to the current health crisis can be found by visiting coronavirus.dc.gov.

Visit www.anc6a.org for a calendar of meeting times, meeting agendas and other information.