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Posted on: May 11, 2020

Community Connections Newsletter: COVID-19 Update

Prince George’s County Maryland sent this bulletin on 05/11/2020 

COVID-19 Update: The Path Forward for Prince George’s County

Dear Prince Georgians:

As of this morning, we have more than 9,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 327 of our beloved residents have died from this virus. We are heartbroken over the terrible toll this virus is taking on our County, and to those of you who have lost loved ones or who are suffering right now, know that I am grieving with you and I am praying for you. I think about you every day.

The coronavirus is having a significant impact on our County as we continue to see our cases increase, but let me be clear, this is not because we are not doing our part. New data from the University of Maryland COVID-19 Impact Analysis Platform, which tracks mobile phone data, shows that Prince George’s County is in the top 3% among all counties in the nation in terms of social distancing practices. The data also shows that we have the largest number of imported cases of actively infectious people traveling to our County since the beginning of March, more than any other county in the State. While a number of underlying factors made us vulnerable to this virus, to include a good number of essential employees and frontline workers, I want to thank Prince Georgians for taking our advice to heart and doing their part to help slow the spread of this virus.

While the rest of the State may continue to open, given the terrible impact COVID-19 is having on our County, we must take a measured and smart approach to reopening non-essential businesses and resuming gatherings with family, friends, and neighbors. This approach includes continuing to increase our testing capacity. We are working hard to purchase more tests at the local level, and we are also partnering with Montgomery County on this front. We also continue to request additional tests from the State. In addition, we hope to have antibody testing capacity in the next 10-14 days.

Another key component to reopening is contact tracing, and we have secured contracts for additional contact tracers and will also identify and train County employees to begin that important work as well. Contact tracing allows us to find people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and have them self-quarantine before they inadvertently infect others.

As an additional measure in our fight against COVID-19, we have opened a quarantine facility for residents who are not able to safely quarantine or self-isolate at home. To qualify for this facility, a resident must be tested at our Health Department testing site. As a reminder, COVID-19 testing is available through our Health Department by calling 301-883-6627. More information on this facility is included below.

I am also excited to announce that our Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now accepting applications. This program provides temporary rent and utility assistance to residents who qualify, up to $1,800 per month for up to 3 months. More information is included below about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Finally, I want to discuss an unsettling trend we have seen from our hospitals. We are finding that some of our residents are waiting too long to go to the emergency room with life-threatening conditions because they are worried about contracting COVID-19 in the hospital. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please do not hesitate to go to the emergency room. Our hospitals are taking excellent infection control measures to ensure that patients coming to the hospital for other reasons are not being exposed to COVID-19.

Prince Georgians, I know this is very hard. Mother’s Day was this past weekend, and so many of us were not able to be with our mothers, grandmothers or other family members in-person. This is lonely and isolating and frustrating, and I want you to know that I feel it, too. However, I am asking you to trust me when I say we need to stay strong and hold on just a little while longer. Continue to stay home except for essential activities, continue to practice social distancing, and continue to wear face coverings when at stores or on public transportation. This not only helps keep us safe, but it also keeps our loved ones safe. We must stay the course, and if we continue to do so, we will be able to safely reunite with family and friends sooner rather than later.

Yours in service,

Angela Alsobrooks

Prince George’s County Executive


COVID-19 Updates

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

ERA Program

The Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program is now accepting applications to help with rent and utility payments for County residents whose employment income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This temporary assistance may help prevent arrears and late fees from accumulating. Depending upon need, applicants may be eligible for a maximum of up to $1,800 per month for a maximum of up to 3 months of emergency rental assistance. Visit mypgc.us/renthelp to determine if you are eligible for the program, what supporting documentation is needed, and to apply. Applicants can also call 211 or 301-864-7161 to apply.


PGCPS Graduation & Other Updates

PGCPS Graduation

Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will host a virtual graduation celebration in honor of the Class of 2020 with a commencement address by Oxon Hill High School alum Taraji P. Henson! The celebration will air on ABC7 News. Additional details on the celebration are forthcoming.

Last week, State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Karen Salmon, announced that schools are closed for the remainder of the school year. The last day for PGCPS seniors is May 15. For all other students, distance learning will end on June 8. Students who may be missing work from quarter four have from June 9 to June 16 to make up that work.

PGCPS has also announced that supper will be offered at meal sites. Breakfast and lunch will continue to be served twice a week, while the snack will be discontinued and replaced with supper. Students can get meals for two days on Mondays and three days on Wednesdays. Parents may pick up meals for students who are unable to come to the site by showing a student ID or report card. Meals are available from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. For a complete list of meal sites, click here.


2020 Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program Canceled

SYEP Canceled

Unfortunately, the 2020 Youth@Work/Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP) has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The SYEP team is working hard to find other avenues of opportunity for our young people this summer. For more information, please visit our website.


June 2 Primary Update

Elections

Last week, the Prince George’s County Board of Elections discovered that an error was made in the mailing of some ballots. The State Board of Elections is responsible for mailing ballots to voters, and some Prince George’s County voters unfortunately received instructions on how to fill out their ballots in Spanish only. All Prince George’s County voters were supposed to receive information in both English and Spanish. After discovering this error, our local Board of Elections immediately notified the State, who agreed to send new instructions to all affected voters. If voters affected by this error do not wish to wait for the new instructions to come in the mail from the State, they can access instructions on how to cast their ballot from our local Board of Elections online at elections.mypgc.us.  

As a reminder, the primary election will be held on June 2. Don’t forget to make sure you’re registered and don’t forget to vote. Residents who are already registered to vote should be receiving their ballots in the mail. All ballots are dated April 28, 2020 but they are NOT due then. They must be postmarked on or before June 2. Check out the voter guide for more information.


Department of Parks & Recreation Summer Camps Canceled

Summer Camps Canceled

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County announced plans for the summer in light of COVID-19. All traditional summer camps are canceled in their entirety, including Day Camps and Extended Care, Summer Playgrounds, Xtreme Teen Centers and Safe Summer Centers. The Department will offer creative virtual programming that will include exciting and engaging activities for Prince George’s County residents and youth. Golf courses will reopen in mid-May with social distancing guidelines and safety protocols to help keep employees and patrons safe as they enjoy the “greens”. Tennis courts will reopen this week. All events and classes that were scheduled for June are canceled. Pools will remain closed until further notice.   

All registered participants will automatically receive full refunds for canceled programming. Parents and guardians do NOT need to make a request. Refunds take approximately three weeks to process and will be applied to the card used for the original transaction. Additional time is required to process refunds for cash, check and money order payments. Contact the Customer Service Help Desk at CustomerService@pgparks.com or call 301-699-2255, TTY 301-699-2544.


Grab & Go Play

Grab and Go Play

Starting May 8, the Department of Parks and Recreation is giving out free leisure kits at 3 community centers in Prince George’s County. Each kit includes fun items for kids such as jump ropes, chalk, art kits, games, and more! Visit any of the 3 community centers listed below every Friday from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM.

  • Marlow Heights Community Center: 2800 St. Clair Drive, Marlow Heights, MD 20748
  • Oakcrest Community Center: 1300 Capitol Heights Blvd., Capitol Heights, MD 20743
  • Glenarden Community Center: 8615 McLain Avenue, Glenarden, MD 20706

Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) Update

Documents Image

Given the operational challenges presented by the present COVID-19 state of emergency and catastrophic health emergency, the County Executive has suspended the deadlines normally imposed for responding to MPIA requests. The deadlines are suspended until the state of emergency has been terminated and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded. Once those actions have occurred, a new notice will be issued that contains the amended dates for each affected deadline. The entirety of the County Executive’s notice on MPIAs can be read here.


Quarantine Facility

Health Dept Logo

Prince George’s County is opening a quarantine facility for residents who are tested for COVID-19 by our Health Department but are not able to safely quarantine or self-isolate at home. Residents may also be eligible for this facility if they live with a person 65 years or older who has an underlying health condition. To qualify, residents must be tested at a Health Department testing facility. The County will provide infection control methods to help prevent further transmission, food, access to medications for other health conditions, social services, transportation to any needed medical care, and needed medical evaluations. As a reminder, residents must schedule an appointment to be screened for COVID-19 at our testing site by calling our hotline at 301-883-6627.


Mental Health Webinars

Mental Health Webinars

Every Thursday in May we are holding mini-webinars on mental health, in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month. The next mini-webinar will be held on May 14 at 11:00 AM. County Executive Alsobrooks will host a community meeting for mental health awareness at 12:00 PM on May 14. To participate in either of these mini-webinars, visit https://bit.ly/MentalHealthWebinars at the meeting time on May 14.


County Executive Alsobrooks Discusses COVID-19 and Prince George’s County on MSNBC

MSNBC Segment

County Executive Alsobrooks recently appeared on MSNBC to discuss COVID-19, its impact on our County, and our County’s response to the pandemic. Watch the interview here.


Video: Together, We Can Beat COVID-19

Part of it Video

COVID-19 is rude and indiscriminate, and it’s going to take all of us doing our part to beat it. From staying home to wearing face coverings, we can all be part of stopping the spread of this virus in our community. Working together, we will make it through this crisis. Watch our latest COVID-19 video here.


State of Maryland Updates

Maryland Flag

On May 6, 2020, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon announced that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Governor Hogan relaxed some of the restrictions of his Stay-At-Home order, now allowing elective surgeries as deemed necessary with doctors using their professional judgment. Additionally, he broadened the list of outdoor activities allowed under the order, assuming social distancing protocols are properly followed. Some of these activities include camping, fishing, golf, and tennis. State parks and beaches reopened only for nearby residents to utilize for fresh air and exercise. For more information, read the Governor’s update here.

Effective Saturday, May 9, 2020, the Cheltenham Veterans Cemetery will open to visitors with limited hours. Please visit the State’s website for additional information.

The State’s new unemployment application portal had some issues on roll-out, including some claimants finding their applications inactivated. The Labor Department has made adjustments and has updated information and instructions for claimants here.

For more information and updates from the State, visit the Governor’s webpage.


Prince George’s Proud Moments

Video: Local Businesses Step Up to Support First Responders

Firefighter Video

We are Prince George’s Proud of all the County businesses who donated products and services like masks, sanitizers and gloves to the first responders in our career and volunteer fire stations. Thank you for your support, which not only benefitted our firefighters and EMS personnel, but also County residents. See our video here.


Mother’s Day Grocery Giveaway

Grocery Giveaway

County Executive Alsobrooks delivers a box of groceries to a resident’s car.

On Saturday, May 9, County Executive Alsobrooks joined Council Member Calvin Hawkins for a Mother’s Day Grocery Giveaway. 500 boxes of free groceries were handed out to residents, including a number of boxes that were delivered directly to seniors. Thank you to everyone who made this grocery giveaway possible, including all the volunteers who came out to assist on Saturday.


IKEA Donates Resources to Prince Georgians in Need

IKEA Donations

Our Office of Community Relations picked up a generous donation from IKEA in College Park.

We would like to give a huge thank you to IKEA for their generous donation of towels, washcloths, pans, bed frames, mattresses, and so much more for residents in need during these difficult times. Our Office of Community Relations stopped by on Friday, May 8 to pick up this generous donation and ensure these resources get to those in need. 


2020 Census

The Census & COVID-19

Census and COVID-19

A complete Census count is going to be critical as we fight and rebuild after COVID-19 has left our community. Accurate Census counts are how we ensure our community gets the resources we need, such as for our healthcare and our schools. Take ten minutes now to complete your Census at my2020Census.gov.


Additional Graphics & Materials

COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 Testing


County Council eComment

County Council eComment


Do Not Wait to Seek Medical Care

Medical Care


State Beaches

State Beaches


WSSC Water: Tips to Reduce Usage

WSSC Water Tips


Additional Info...
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