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Prince George's County lifts stay-at-home order, reopens June 1

Prince George's County has the most reported coronavirus cases in Maryland.

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — Prince George's County will lift its stay-at-home order and is set to reopen on June 1 after seeing a decrease in coronavirus cases and death rates.

The county is starting to see declines with a 13.5 percent decrease in coronavirus cases and a decline in death rates averaging 60 deaths this week compared to last week's 70 deaths, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said.

Alsobrooks believes the county is ready to move forward to phase one of reopening. She said the county has comfortable secured PPE and supplies to make sure they are able to care for front line workers and essential workers. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan sent 160,000 isolation gowns to the county.

“I can tell you Prince George’s County has the resources we need to move toward phase one of reopening," Alsobrooks said.

Alsobrooks also announced the Prince George's County Forward Task Force, whose focus will be on recovery efforts for the county. The task force will focus on five key areas, including education, human and social services, economics, and government operations to help move the region forward during the pandemic.

On May 28, Alsobrooks said the county was dealing with the most positive cases in the state and that nine people die per day from COVID-19, making it the leading cause of death in the county. The county also has the highest positivity rate for coronavirus in the state, saying that one out of every three people tested for the virus test positive.

In an effort to flatten the curve in the county, Alsobrooks discussed a plan to move forward, which included amping up testing, contact tracing and quarantine facilities.

"After reviewing recent data, we are cautiously moving toward a modified phase one reopening by June 1," Alsobrooks said.  “While the data has improved, we are not out of the woods yet."

Rental Assistance Program

Prince Georgians in need of rent help during the pandemic can apply for the county's rental assistance program beginning Monday.

The emergency rental assistance program will provide up to $1,800 a month for up to three months to eligible people.

Eligibility is based on median income and whether or not the applicant is at risk of losing housing. 

More details can be found at mypgc.us/renthelp including instructions on how to apply beginning Monday, May 11.

Testing

Alsobrooks said Friday that the county is currently testing about 5,000 people per week and they would like to get to a point where they're testing 10,000 people per week.

In order to reach that goal, Alsobroooks said county officials are looking to open additional testing sites in the north and south ends of the county. Additional details about those sites have not yet been released.

In order to open those sites, the county is working with the governor to secure testing kits from the state's 500,000 kit supply. Alsobrooks said she has requested 90,000 test kits for the county.

Officials are also working to secure antibody test and additional workers to help with contact tracing. 

Quarantine Facility

Alsobrooks announced plans to open a county-run quarantine facility at a hotel in the county to allow those who can't safely quarantine at home somewhere to go. 

In order to be eligible residents must be tested at a health department location and recommended by a nurse. Food, needed medication, transportation and other necessities will be provided to those at the facility. However, additional details were not made available Friday.

PGCPS High School Graduation Plans

Prince George's County Public Schools Superintendent Monica Goldson announced distance learning will continue through June 10 in the county. Summer school plans will be announced once the school year is completed.

Dr. Goldson also announced plans for a virtual graduation ceremony for graduating seniors on May 30.

The ceremony will feature a commencement speech from actress Taraji P. Hensen along with other famous alums.

About 8,000 seniors are expected to graduate across the county's schools.

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