News, MSDC Statements, and MSDC Testimony on Health Equity Issues
DC Moves Away From Quarantine List To Aggressive Testing For Travel
On Thursday, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District was updating its travel advisory to encouraging testing when entering the District.
Since July, the District has released lists of states with a certain positive test thresholds for COVID-19. Visitors from those states, or residents returning from a visit to those states, were asked to quarantine for 14 days unless they met narrow exceptions. The list, updated every 2 weeks and exempting Maryland and Virginia, had reached 42 states.
At her press conference, the Mayor updated the travel advisory. For visitors coming into DC, visitors are asked to get a test before travelling. If the person is visiting for more than 72 hours, they are asked to get tested upon arriving. If they test positive, or are a close contact of a positive case, they are asked not to visit the District.
There will not be enforcement at the District's borders, as some states are considering. However, private businesses are permitted to ask for a record of a negative COVID test before allowing visitors into a facility as well as ask about travel history. The same exemptions for the quarantine travel list apply for travel restrictions.
DC residents who are returning to work from a high risk state are now asked to self-monitor and limit daily activities for 14 days, OR limit their daily activities until they receive a negative COVID test. Those performing "essential work" are exempt.
At the same press conference, the Mayor announced a new partnership with LabCorp to provide District residents with at-home COVID testing.
Sample of Health Equity Legislation MSDC is Tracking
(See the whole list of bills here)
What does it say? The bill allows for the administration of medicinal marijuana in schools as well as allows students to bring sunscreen to schools and apply it without a prescription.
MSDC position: MSDC supports the language permitting sunscreen application in schools
Current status: A win for DC physicians and public health! The legislation passed the Council in February and was signed by the Mayor. Previous temporary and emergency legislation permitted students to use sunscreen at schools this school year already.
What does it say? The bill requires DC Health to establish an electronic Medical Order for Scope of Treatment registry (eMOST).
MSDC position: MSDC supports this legislation to more easily allow patients to make their treatment orders known.
Current status: A win for the physician community and our patients! The Council passed the bill in December and the Mayor signed it into law on January 16, 2020.
What does it say? The bill would implement a 1.5 cent per ounce tax on the distribution of "sugary" beverages. The money collected from the tax would establish a Healthy People, Healthy Places Open Spaces Grant Program.
MSDC position: MSDC sent a letter to Council Chair Mendelson asking for a hearing to discuss all of the issues around a beverage tax.
Current status: The bill was introduced October 8, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Business and Economic Development and the Committee of the Whole.