Earlier this week, Events DC received information from American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that a group of its attendees had interacted with someone who had contracted COVID-19. It was also noted that those individuals had interacted with or been exposed to COVID-19 prior to their attendance at the AIPAC conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center (February 29-March 3). At that time, there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washington, DC.
We have since learned that two (2) AIPAC Conference attendees tested positive for COVID-19. Events DC has been in constant communication with the Mayor’s Office, DC Homeland Security & Emergency Management Agency, DC Health Department and our customers to get guidance and additional information and to understand potential impacts to our staff, partners, customers and other stakeholders.
Here’s what was shared by the DC Health Department:
- Through the New York State Department of Health, they confirmed that the two AIPAC conference attendees tested positive for COVID-19;
- The conference attendees were asymptomatic – meaning they were not experiencing symptoms while they were in DC.
Additionally, in conjunction with the District Government, we have been reviewing the CDC Guidelines as provided at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html; Specific to whether someone can spread the virus without being sick, CDC has provided the following:
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
The health and safety of our guests and employees is our highest priority. Events DC is guided by the latest advisories and recommendations from the District of Columbia Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) in taking the necessary extra steps to reduce the spread of any communicable disease. Events DC will continue to closely monitor this situation and continue to share updates as soon as we receive them.
For more information, please refer to the following resources:
- CDC Information Line 800-CDC-INFO/(800-232-4636)/TTY 888-232-6348
- CDC Coronavirus information page https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- DC Health Department Coronavirus information page https://coronavirus.dc.gov/
Events DC has implemented the below preventative steps:
- An enhanced facility operations policy to reflect a proactive approach to housekeeping, sanitation, hygiene and food handling; continually educating staff in these areas.
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all frequently touched surfaces, such as playground equipment, concession stations, restrooms, handrails and elevator buttons; implementing multiple hand washing stations throughout all our venues.
- Restroom soap dispensers are being maintained at a high frequency ensuring functionality and capacity.
- Conspicuously placed “Cover Your Cough” signage throughout our facilities; “Cover Your Cough” graphics display on the Convention Center’s building-wide digital signage system.
- Monitoring daily advisories from the CDC and the WHO and updating our protocols in accordance with the recommendations of these agencies.
- Educating employees, especially guest service representatives, to recognize the symptoms of flu and to act responsibly if they detect or exhibit flu symptoms.
- Events DC’s Public Safety Team will provide a briefing to include a summary of our Emergency Response Plan and our sanitation practices before or after your pre-con meeting. Additionally, a private briefing to your leadership can be provided if requested.