Hard hit Hyattsville desperate for more COVID-19 resources

Community leaders from some of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Prince George's County are making a desperate plea for more resources.

Hyattsville has seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases with more than 1,600. In District 2, Zip Code 20783 - an area that includes Hyattsville, as well as Adelphi, College Park, Beltsville, Langley Park, Chillum and Hillandale - many say help is not coming in fast enough.

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"When you're looking at these numbers, it's extremely concerning about what is happening here. We feel abandoned, we feel left behind, we feel forgotten," said Prince George's County council member Deni Taveras.

"It's the perfect storm of disease, lack of jobs, undocumented situations all in this community, that's actually part of a more affluent region," said Toby Harkleroad,Principal at St. Francis international school.

Minority and immigrant communities were already struggling before the pandemic, now they're in a state of crisis.

On Thursday, a food drive took place in Langley Park. It's been a daily effort for weeks now, with lines wrapped around the block. Thousands of parents and kids waited for a hot meal from World Central Kitchen, and picked up boxes of produce from the USDA, to feed their families.

"This is going to feed the people that live with me, my mom the other parents with us, and the children," said 14-year-old Gabi Castaneda.


"We came with the thought of doing 1,500 meals, but at the end of the day we did over 3000 meals," said Tim Kilcoyne with World Central Kitchen.

But Besides food, Councilmember Deni Tavares says there's a lack of access to testing sites. And while she's glad Governor Hogan has expanded testing, with a new site in Hyattsville off Jefferson Ave., she says it makes no difference given that most of the residents don't have the means to get there.

"People here do not have cars, they don't have money to get an a taxi, or put gas in their car if they do have one... what I'm an advocate for is for us to have a mobile clinic and a barrier free entry," said Tavares.

"Trying to meet the need, it's taken longer than we anticipated but we're working to get integrated into those communities," said Calvin Hawkins PG County Council At Large.

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Taveras says Governor Hogan needs to allocate more money, upwards of 200 million to Prince George's County to actually meet the urgent needs: from mobile testing sites, to financial support for renters, to creating Quarantine places those in overcrowded housing, and financially supporting businesses

Council members are working closely with the County Executive's office to get these needs met with the resources currently on hand.


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