LARGO, Md. – Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced several updates regarding the County’s COVID-19 response and vaccination efforts, including an expansion of the County’s indoor mask mandate to include children ages 2-5.
“From the outset of this pandemic, we have been focused on policies that support the health and safety of our residents, while also ensuring residents and businesses have the resources they need to get by,” said Alsobrooks. “We want to thank Prince Georgians for working together through this pandemic, because we have shown that we are a strong and resilient community where residents can always count on one another.”
Indoor Mask Mandate Update
Prince George’s County has expanded its indoor mask mandate to include children ages 2-5, effective immediately. Previously, that mandate only included anyone over the age of 5 in the County. Now, residents and visitors over the age of 2 are required to wear masks in all indoor public venues and businesses in Prince George’s County. Similar to past mandates, exceptions exist for eating and drinking, or those with a bona fide disability that prevents mask wearing.
County Government COVID-19 Vaccination Policy
The County Government is working to finalize its employee vaccination policy. Currently, the County is in the process of asking employees to submit their vaccination status. While that process is still ongoing, preliminary data shows that at least 64% of County employees are vaccinated. The County is using this data to look at various methods to ensure the safety of employees and residents, to include periodic testing and incentives for vaccinated employees.
One agency that has started testing on a weekly basis, for all employees who aren’t vaccinated, is the County’s Department of Corrections. This is due to the nature of the facility with congregate living. More information will be provided to County employees once vaccination policies have been finalized.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
The U.S. Treasury Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) awarded Prince George’s
County $84 million to assist residents. So far, the County has assisted 4,134 households with $30.8 million in aid, helping with both rental and utility assistance. Prince George’s County continues to lead the state in distributing emergency rental assistance funds.
To make sure the County is reaching as many residents as possible, the Office of Community Relations (OCR) has partnered with the Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct a comprehensive outreach program.
OCR recently launched an Emergency Rental Assistance Hotline, where residents can get information about the program, find out their application status if they have already applied, or schedule an appointment with a staff member if they need assistance with completing an application. The hotline is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling 301-883-6504 and pressing 9.
In addition, the County is hosting a number of rental assistance community fairs, where residents can attend to get more information or to receive on-site assistance with completing and submitting an application. The first community fair was held last month in Suitland, where over 400 residents attended to receive help with applying for emergency rental assistance. The next in-person community fair is this Saturday, October 9, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Langley Park Community Center.
Residents can learn more about the ERAP and submit an application through the County’s ERAP webpage.
COVID-19 Booster Shots & Third Doses
Based on CDC guidance, the County is offering booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to residents who are 65 and older, residents ages 18-64 with underlying medical conditions, and individuals ages 18-64 who work or reside in certain settings that increase their risk of COVID19 exposure (e.g. health care, schools, grocery workers, correctional facilities, homeless shelters).
The CDC recommends that these groups receive a booster shot at least six months after receiving their second dose of Pfizer. Individuals do not have to show proof of eligibility to receive a booster shot at clinics operated by the County Health Department. Federal officials have not yet approved booster shots for those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The County is also offering third doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to residents who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, based on guidance from the CDC. For people with weakened immune systems, a third dose is recommended 28 days after the second dose. Federal officials have not yet approved an additional dose for immunocompromised individuals that received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Residents can find the nearest vaccine clinic at mypgc.us/COVIDVaccine.
American Rescue Plan Funds
Prince George’s County will receive $176.6 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), signed into law by President Biden. This funding is meant to aid local jurisdictions in recovering from COVID-19. The County is allocating funds in a balanced way, using the majority of funds for pandemic-related expenditures. Some examples of ARP spending by the County include:
• Funds for the upcoming behavioral health facility
• Affordable housing
• Additional business assistance
• Relaunching the County’s Rapid Re-employment Grant Program to get unemployed residents back to work
• Single-family rehab grant program
• Additional funds to address food insecurity
• Infrastructure to address residential flooding
• Funding for the County’s homeless shelter
• Hazard pay for public and non-public facing essential County employees, overtime pay, and money to facilitate teleworking throughout County Government
COVID-19 Numbers & Vaccinations
Over 1,000,000 total vaccinations have been provided to eligible County residents. 548,893 residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine. According to the CDC, over 82% of adults (18 and older) in the County have received at least one dose of a vaccine, and 72% of eligible residents (12 and older) are fully vaccinated.
The County’s positivity rate is 3.3% as of October 1. Last week, the County dropped below 4.0% for the first time since the end of July. The average daily case rate is 12.2 cases per 100,000 residents as of October 1. Finally, the County’s infection rate is 0.93 as of September 27.