UPPER MARLBORO, Md. - This is the end of week eight for Maryland’s stay-at-home order.
While restrictions are being lifted in some places, officials in Prince George’s County are insisting the COVID-19 curve hasn’t been flattened.
And while that news may be hard to hear, there is something positive to share about high school graduations in the county.
Just when you thought it was safe to start exhaling, Prince George’s County’s chief medical officer noted that – on average – nine people are dying from the coronavirus every day.
At a morning news conference, Dr. Ernest Carter said that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are continuing to rise – with 256 COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals right now, compare to 125 one month ago.
And Carter says there’s still a concern about the strain on intensive care units.
"Four out of five hospitals in the county have utilized over 70 percent of their ICU capacity in the last week. Under normal circumstances our hospitals have 81 ICU beds combined. This week an average of 112 ICU beds are being used in the county on a daily basis,” he said.
Carter cautions everyone to be careful with some restrictions on outdoor activities being lifted.
"Exercise is a great way to stay physically and emotionally healthy. But... please be sure to take care of yourself and remember we are still in the thick of the fight,” Carter said.
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks says that 60,000 residents have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. She says the county has committed $4 million from the Federal Cares Act for rental assistance. You can apply starting Monday, May 11.
"We just have to hold on a little while longer. This will not last forever, and I have promised you that COVID-19 will not have the final say. We are certainly going to make it to the other side of this crisis and when we do so we're going to be stronger than ever,” she said.
And there’s some exciting news about commencement for more than 8,000 graduating Prince George’s County Public Schools seniors.
CEO Monica Goldson says graduation will be on Saturday, May 30 – and held virtually and system-wide. They’ll also have a notable commencement speaker – Tiraj P Henson.
“On May 30, we will welcome Oxon Hill High School's own Class of 1988 Academy Award nominated actress Tiraj P Henson as our commencement speaker. The celebration will also feature Kenny Latimore... Prince George's County public school alum and Hall of Fame inductee... NFL cornerback Joe Hayden... Joe Claire... Taylor Thomas and lots of other prominent alum,” Alsobrooks said.
Still, no word on when Prince George’s County might be ready to enter phase one of a reopening plan.