As the holiday season approaches, Prince George’s County officials are advising residents to avoid large gatherings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and are preparing for a spike in cases as temperatures begin to drop.

County officials pointed to an uptick in cases and a rising percentage of positive test results as reasons the county will continue to pause its reopening in Phase 2.

“This is a holiday season like no other,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a press conference Thursday, WAMU reported. “We will prayerfully have an opportunity to gather in the way that we are accustomed to, but this holiday season is not it.”

Dr. Ernest Carter, director of the county health department, said certain metrics such as the weekly case count and test positivity rate are on the rise.

“October has been bumpy,” he said at the news conference, WAMU reported.

During the week of Oct. 18, 852 residents tested positive for the coronavirus — a 19% jump from the previous week and the highest weekly case count since August, according to the health department. That particular week also showed a positivity rate of 4.3%, a 10% increase over the previous week.

Carter said such numbers are reason to keep the county from moving into Phase 3 of its reopening plan.

“I’m concerned about what we’re seeing in our numbers as we enter into the colder months,” he said, WAMU reported. “As we brace for another potential spike from the COVID-19 cases, we have to be vigilant about the numbers and what we do.”

As of Friday, the county health department tracker has logged roughly 33,000 coronavirus cases and 851 related deaths since the outset of the pandemic, both tops in the state.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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