NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - Prince George’s County will remain in Phase 2 reopening according to officials, citing an increase in the county’s key COVID-19 metrics.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks says the decision was made under the advice of county health officials after analyzing COVID-19 data and trends over the past three weeks.
“The COVID-19 trends we are seeing in our County and jurisdictions across the State are concerning and a stark reminder that this virus is still very much present in our community,” said Alsobrooks. “This, unfortunately, means that Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays will not look the same this year. As difficult as it will be, as we approach the holiday season and the weather gets cooler, it is very important that we all avoid gathering at each other’s homes.”
Preliminary data from the county for last week shows the positivity rate has increased to 4.3%, after falling under 4% for two consecutive weeks. There were also 852 new cases for last week, a 19.2% increase from the previous week and the highest number of new cases in one week in the county since the beginning of August.
The county’s infection rate has also increased, sitting at 1.07 as of October 20. The county’s average daily case rate has steadily increased over the last three weeks, sitting at 13.4 new cases per day per 100,000 residents as of last week.
Prince George's County Health Department is advising against holiday gatherings with individuals who are not in your immediate household. Instead, the health department recommends hosting virtual holiday gatherings for family and friends. If hosting an in-person gathering with people outside of your household, health officials recommend it be small with a limited number of people so social distancing can be enforced and everyone should also wear masks.
The other part of this is how local businesses are continuing to hang on.
“We want to make sure that these businesses survive and that they are able to continue to employ many of our residents, so we are providing additional support to our restaurants who really have faced a difficult season because of COVID-19," said Alsobrooks.
“We are trying not to be too discouraged and trying to look forward to the future and hoping that the cases do go down and if they do go up, I mean hey, we will try our best to get through it," said Chris Pfeifer, an assistant restaurant manager.
The health department is also advising residents to reconsider travel during the holiday season, saying if you must travel, consider the mode of transportation you will take as well as the dates you will be traveling. Health officials recommend carrying a small personal sanitizing kit with hand sanitizer, wipes and masks. Full holiday guidance can be found on the health department’s coronavirus page at health.mypgc.us/coronavirus.
Prince George’s County will also extend the hours of its public transit system, “TheBus,” on Election Day, November 3, until 9:00 p.m. on all active county bus lines. Service is free for all riders. Voters can check route and schedule information at mypgc.us/thebus, as not all polling locations are served by transit. Voters can find a full list of Vote Centers at elections.mypgc.us.