The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to open a vaccination site in Greenbelt on April 7 — the first federally-managed site in Maryland.
A joint announcement from Gov. Larry Hogan and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said the site at the Greenbelt Metro station parking lot could supply up to 3,000 COVID-19 doses per day as vaccines become available from the federal government.
“Prince George’s County has certainly been the hardest-hit jurisdiction in the region and we thank the White House, FEMA and our other federal partners for selecting our county as a location for a federally-run mass vaccination site,” Alsobrooks said. “It is absolutely critical that we can continue to quickly and equitably administer vaccine to our community.”
The site plans to have staff to translate for residents who don’t speak English and those who are deaf or have hearing loss. The number of employees and hours of operation has not been announced.
Greenbelt Mayor Colin Byrd announced one day earlier that FEMA would be coming to Greenbelt through the end of June.
“We can see more people get vaccinated and help those not in the city of Greenbelt but also parts of Prince George’s County who have been effected the greatest,” he said Monday, March 29. “It has been a nightmare for the vaccine inequities we have seen in this state. This will help reconcile and get past this nightmare.”
As of Monday, Prince George’s continued to lead the state of Maryland in confirmed coronavirus cases with nearly 78,000. Greenbelt, located in the northern part of the county, could help vaccinate residents who reside in the Hyattsville area with the zip code of 20783. That zip code ranks second in the state with 5,221 confirmed cases.
According to a map presented Monday during a Maryland Senate oversight work group session, less than 10 percent of those who reside in several zip codes inside the Beltway in Prince George’s received at least a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Although more than 2.5 million Marylanders have been vaccinated, Sen. Clarence Lam, a physician and Democrat who represents portions of Baltimore and Howard counties, suggested the state slow down on reopening efforts.
One reason: Lam’s two counties and 13 other jurisdictions recorded positivity rates Monday at or above 5 percent. The figure sits above the state average of 4.9 percent.
Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore notes positive rate remains “an important indicator because it can provide insights into whether a community is conducting enough testing to find cases.”
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a COVID-19 White House briefing Monday she felt “impending doom” based on a rise of confirmed cases above 30 million nationwide. Some of her fear hinders on more Americans traveling as 145.8 million Americans have been vaccinated.
“The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including what Germany, Italy and France looked like just a few weeks ago,” Walensky said. “We are not powerless. We can change this trajectory of the pandemic but it will take all of us recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently, while we work to get the American public vaccinated.”
Walensky signed a temporary order to halt residential evictions through June 30. Eligibility requirements include an individual renter earning $99,000 annually and a couple $198,000. Renters must also prove they couldn’t pay rent due to substantial loss of income, become homeless and sought government assistance.