Prince George’s County will remain in reopening phase two after health officials saw a “slight spike” in COVID-19 cases after Labor Day weekend, the county executive said Thursday.
The county saw its positivity rate jump to 5.4% and then drop to 4.1% last week. This is defined as “medium risk,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said. The infection rate was 1.05 — higher than the state average of 0.99.
“There are still too many COVID tests coming back positive,” Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter said at a news conference.
Before phase three can begin, key metrics need to improve, Alsobrooks said. She thanked residents for wearing masks and keeping their distance from each other.
“I want to commend Prince Georgians for continuing to do a beautiful job of keeping each other safe,” she said. “The increase that we saw from the recent Labor Day holiday weekend was not as bad as the one we saw following the Fourth of July weekend, so if our numbers continue to trend downward, we may be able to move into our next phase of recovery in the near future.”
Gov. Larry Hogan allowed counties and cities to choose to move to phase three starting Sept. 4. Going to a movie, attending a concert outdoors and worshipping at a larger religious service are allowed. Go here for more info on what's allowed and which areas chose to move into the phase.
Health officials will look at the data in two or three weeks to determine whether the county is ready to move into phase three. Alsobrooks said she believes this cautious approach has protected residents and moving too quickly could erase their progress.
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The county won’t bring students back to campus until at least the end of January.
Alsobrooks also gave an update on voting. So far, the county has received more than 210,000 ballot applications. The county executive urged residents to vote by mail to reduce lines for early voting and on Election Day.
Ballots should begin to arrive as early as Thursday. Ballot drop boxes will be delivered and installed in time for early voting, which begins Oct. 26. All 42 drop boxes will be operational by Oct. 15, Alsobrooks said. They each will have 24-hour security.