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Prince George’s County will remain in Stage Two of reopening as key metrics fluctuate

Prince George’s County will remain in Stage Two of reopening, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday, as key metrics in the county fluctuate, concerning health officials.

She announced that registration for some outdoor sports including soccer and lacrosse is open, and that on Oct. 16 drive-in movie theaters can open. Indoor theaters, bars, government buildings, senior centers and concert venues remain closed.

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Prince George’s County has had more cases of COVID-19 than any other jurisdiction in the state, about 30,000 cases overall, and more than 800 people in the county have died due to the coronavirus.

After hitting a low of 3.2% the week of Sept. 20, the rate at which COVID-19 tests come back positive increased to 4.2% last week, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Health George Askew said. The rate at which infected people are spreading the virus to others briefly dropped below 1.0, but as of Sept. 28 was exactly 1.0, meaning each sick person infects one other person.

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“This means COVID is still spreading in a slow and controlled fashion here in the county again,” he said during a news conference Thursday.

Askew said the goal is to get that rate to 0.9 or lower. The county’s average case rate last week was 11.5 new cases a day per 100,000 residents. Officials would like that to decline to 10 new cases a day per 100,000 residents.

Askew, a retired pediatrician, said the county is also recommending to parents that they skip traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating because of COVID. Haunted house attractions are closed.

“If it’s a good haunted house you’re going to be screaming at the top of your lungs, and frankly if you’re screaming with a virus that’s passed on by respiratory droplets that is a totally inappropriate situation for us to put our children in, to put ourselves in," Askew said.

Alsobrooks said registration for youth sports programs including softball, volleyball, lacrosse, two-on-two football and soccer is available now. She said for children who aren’t into sports, programming is available for subjects including visual arts, video games and the outdoors.

“This is something that we will resolve as a community, to make sure that our children are constructively engaged, that they have things to do, especially as the weather changes,” Alsobrooks said.

She said the county will also permit drive-in movie theaters to open starting Oct. 16 at 5:01 p.m.

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