Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that the county’s stay-at-home order will be extended through June 1, according to a county government news release.
On May 13, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that the statewide stay-at-home order put in place due to the worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus would be lifted, with some restrictions still in place, but that counties would have the authority to keep restrictions in place if they needed to.
“We are still under the threat of this virus. For the second week in row, an average of nine Prince Georgians are dying each day of COVID-19. These are our neighbors, our friends, our parents, our brothers and sisters, and our loved ones. We have more than 11,100 cases of COVID-19 in Prince George’s County, and 373 deaths. These are heart-breaking numbers.
“We are still under the threat of this virus,” Alsobrooks stated in the release. “For the second week in row, an average of nine Prince Georgians are dying each day of COVID-19. These are our neighbors, our friends, our parents, our brothers and sisters, and our loved ones. We have more than 11,100 cases of COVID-19 in Prince George’s County, and 373 deaths. These are heart-breaking numbers.”
Alsobrooks said that Prince George’s County’s numbers of coronavirus cases are continuing to climb. As a result, she signed an executive order extending the stay-at-home order through June 1. The order mandates that residents stay at home except for essential activities, such as going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions or visiting the doctor, unless they are essential workers. Non-essential businesses are required to stay closed, and restaurants may only provide delivery or curbside pickup. Churches and other religious facilities must continue holding virtual services, the release stated.
Alsobrooks stated that the county normally has 81 Intensive Care Unit beds available in its hospitals, but that with increased capacity, there are currently 113 ICU beds, with 70 occupied by coronavirus patients.
“We are operating on average at 80% capacity in our ICU units across the county. Just this past weekend, we reached a new high of 192 COVID positive patients in acute care in our hospitals,” Alsobrooks stated. “Although we have seen a slight reduction in the growth of new cases, we will need to see that decline for 14 straight days before we can even begin to consider reopening.”
Alsobrooks said the county has developed five pillars that need to be met before the county can reopen. The county needs to reduce the curve of infection rates, continue to ensure that the healthcare system has the capacity to serve both coronavirus and non-coronavirus patients, have adequate testing, have more contact tracers and more personal protective equipment.
“We must meet several measures under these pillars to be able to reopen, such as a two-week decline in both new cases and deaths due to COVID-19, a two-week decline in hospitalizations, and the capacity to conduct at least 9,000 tests per week,” Alsobrooks said. “I want to note that we are not ready to reopen because, quite frankly, we do not have the resources that we need to meet the above metrics. We continue to stand in partnership with the State and are ready to work with them. We have been asking for the materials we need – from tests to PPE – in order to care for Prince Georgians, who are also Marylanders. Just as it is the federal government’s responsibility to provide resources to the states, it is the state’s responsibility to provide those resources to its jurisdictions.”
“We are suffering in our county. To our residents, I assure you I am working for you and will continue to do everything in my power to keep you and those you love safe. To our business community, I know you are hurting, too. We are one of the economic engines of this State, so when your doors are closed, not only does it impact our local economy, but our state’s economy,” Alsobrooks added. “However, if we don’t make sure that people are healthy first, it will have a much more significant impact on our small businesses, and our local economy, over the long run. Right now, the science tells us that if we open our doors at this moment, not only will we lose more money, but we will lose more Prince Georgians … We need you to continue to stay home as much as possible, continue to wear face coverings when in stores and on public transportation, and continue to practice social distancing. While we are still trying to weather this storm, I promise you that we will get through it together.”