Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Prince George’s Ratchets Up Coronavirus Restrictions as Cases Surge: ‘Time to Hunker Down’

As confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout Maryland and the D.C. region, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced an executive order Thursday her jurisdiction will reinstitute certain restrictions.

By 5 p.m. Sunday, outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people, while attendance for indoor events at public and private facilities, including residences, bars and restaurants, will be capped at 10 people.

The county’s coronavirus case rate has doubled from 10 to 20 cases per 100,000 people.

“It is time to hunker down,” Alsobrooks said during a press conference at the county’s emergency operations center in Landover. “We are in the midst of another surge and based on the data our public health officials have gathered … we have found that gatherings indoors are very dangerous.”

As of Thursday, the state health department reported confirmed coronavirus cases increased by at least 1,000 in a 24-hour period for a ninth straight day. The statewide total now stands at 159,900.

Prince George’s continues to lead the state with 35,434 confirmed cases.

Alsobrooks announced the restrictions the same week Gov. Larry Hogan and other Maryland officials imposed certain restrictions.

On Tuesday, Hogan announced the allowed capacity indoor restaurant capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent. Also, visitors who travel to nursing homes and assisted living facilities should be tested before they arrive.

Hogan plans to provide another coronavirus update at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Officials in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City announced restrictions this week to decrease indoor capacity at restaurants and other venues.

In Prince George’s, the 10 people indoor restriction will be based on one person per 200 square feet.

Ernest Carter, chief health officer for the county, helped do the math.

If a person lives in a 600-square-foot apartment, then only three people would be permitted inside the residence.

He also reiterated if a church’s basement is 1,000 square feet church, then a maximum number of people inside would be five.

Carter said another important piece of data: the county’s current infection rate at 1.15 comes near the high-risk category of “community spread.”

The figure represents more than one person on average “is infected by someone else who has the virus,” he said.

The goal remains for the figure to be at least .90 or less. It hasn’t been below 1.0 for a month, Carter said.

The restrictions also come with Thanksgiving two weeks away and Christmas next month.

“As tough as that is, and I know it’s tough for you all to hear this, but the health department strongly recommends not attending or hosting holiday gatherings with people who are not in your immediate households,” Carter said.

As has been the normal routine since the outset of the pandemic, Carter suggested catching with family and friends online through Zoom or other means of technology.

“Your loved ones will still love you. I know mine do,” he said.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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