Letters to the Editor • Opinion
The coronavirus pandemic is not over
Letters to the Editor • Opinion
We already know how to prevent pandemics
People wait in line outside a D.C. fire station for a coronavirus test this month. (Samuel Corum/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on Tuesday ordered health insurers licensed in the District to begin paying for coronavirus testing for people who face elevated risks from the illness.

Under the mandate, insurers must cover testing for those who work in high-risk settings; are at a high risk of complications from covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus; or have been exposed to a person recently diagnosed with the disease.

The order requires insurers to cover testing once a week at no cost. Prior approval from a doctor isn’t required.

“If you need a test, you should get a test and you shouldn’t be worried about the cost,” Bowser said in a statement. “This is one more way we can keep Washingtonians safe and work to stop the spread of covid-19.”

Bowser said under the mandate, an asymptomatic person who works at a long-term-care facility could have coronavirus testing covered by insurance.

Coronavirus cases, deaths and the latest metrics in the Washington region

Previously, insurers were required to cover testing based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The new order will be in effect through the city’s designated public health emergency.

In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that state officials are monitoring a “concerning” rise in the coronavirus test positivity rate in Somerset County, on the Eastern Shore. The statewide seven-day test positivity rate is 3.25 percent, although the rate in Somerset is 6.57 percent — the only Maryland jurisdiction above 5 percent.

D.C., Maryland and Virginia reported 1,427 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, which is slightly below the region’s seven-day average. The region’s 36 additional fatalities was the highest death toll in a single day since Aug. 6, raising the seven-day average number of deaths to 23.

D.C. reported 45 new cases and no deaths, Virginia had 1,005 cases and 23 deaths, and Maryland reported 377 cases and 13 deaths.

Coronavirus news in D.C., Virginia and Maryland

The latest: More than two years into the pandemic, covid cases in the D.C. region are rising again, , while liberal Montgomery County asks who deserves credit for its robust covid response. Meanwhile, Black funeral directors still face a daunting amount of deaths from covid and the omicron wave has had an unequal toll in the DMV.

At-home tests: Here’s how to use at-home covid tests, where to find them and how they differ from PCR tests.

Mapping the spread: Tens of thousands have died in the local region and nationwide cases number in the hundreds of thousands.

Omicron: Remaining covid restrictions in the D.C.-area, plus a breakdown of variant symptoms and mask recommendations.

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