D.C. Health Department Director LaQuandra Nesbitt on Monday said residents with sewage backup from the heavy flooding last week should not be concerned about coronavirus spreading through wastewater.
She said while there is an ability to detect coronavirus in wastewater, she said the primary way for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, is through respiratory particles.
The District experienced heavy flooding on Thursday, which closed down several roads, flooded basements and prompted water rescues. Chris Rodriguez, director of D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), last week said the city received 2.88 inches of rain that afternoon — the most rain experienced since 1950 — citing National Weather Service measurements.
Hundreds of residents had called about flooding last week, according to David Gadis, CEO of D.C. Water. The water company is working to complete an after-action report on the extent of the flood damage, Mayor Muriel Bowser told reporters Monday.
As of Monday, the District reported 30 more coronavirus cases, but has not reported any additional deaths since Wednesday.
So far, the coronavirus has infected 14,622 D.C. residents and killed 616, health department data shows.
Although the District has resumed some activities during the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Nesbitt said the behaviors of individuals such as choosing to stay home when sick will dictate when the city moves to the next phase of reopening.
The District has been in phase two of reopening since June 22.