Smithsonian quickly closes 4 museums resulting from Omicron COVID case surge

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Four Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. will quickly be closed because the unfold of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 impacts its employees, the establishment introduced. The metropolis is experiencing what native officers name a “winter surge” in COVID instances.

“Like many other organizations, the Smithsonian has been managing the direct and indirect outcomes of the latest surge,” the Smithsonian mentioned in a press release. “Over the last few days, the Smithsonian has seen an increase in positive covid cases and associated quarantine periods among our essential and operational staff.”

The National Museum of African Art, the National Postal Museum, the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of Asian Art can be closed starting Wednesday and are scheduled to reopen January 3. 

The Smithsonian mentioned it “strives to keep as many of our museums open to the public as possible without sacrificing the health and safety of our visitors and staff.” The short-term closures, it mentioned, will permit employees to be reallocated so as to assist hold different museums open for the week. 

At Smithsonian museums that do stay open, guests aged 2 and older are required to put on face masks whereas indoors, no matter their vaccination standing, beneath the museum’s COVID protocols

The announcement comes amid a rise in COVID instances within the District of Columbia because the Omicron variant shortly spreads all through the nation. According to Patrick Ashley, senior deputy director at DC Health, town has reported a rising case fee however decrease hospitalization fee in comparison with a month in the past.

He urged residents to get absolutely vaccinated and get a booster shot to assist cease the unfold of COVID. 

“We know that being boosted, fully vaccinated and boosted, is the primary way to prevent you from any severe illness or death,” Ashley mentioned at a COVID briefing Wednesday. “We know that the difference between being boosted versus unvaccinated is you’re 10 times more likely to become infected and 20 times more likely to die.” 

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