Data: As Prince George’s enters ‘full’ phase 2, covid cases decline steadily

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Today, Prince George’s County crosses a milestone in its struggle to contain the local spread of coronavirus. At 5 p.m., June 29, 2020, the county will enter a “full phase two” reopening of county businesses. The move will allow gyms, fitness centers, casinos, shopping malls, spas and tattoo partners may re-open for business, with restrictions. 

But last week, Prince George’s County crossed another milestone in the local fight against covid-19. For the first time since April, the rolling 14-day average count of daily new cases dropped below 100 cases per day. This happened on June 26, 2020. As of June 28, this rolling average of new cases stood at 80 per day. For context: The last time Prince George’s County had two-week average daily new case count below 100 was April 9, 2020. In-between, as we’ve charted below, this rolling average of daily new cases peaked at 320 on May 9, 2020. Further, the two-week rolling average of daily deaths in Prince George’s County dropped to approximately 3 this past week, levels not seen since before April 10, 2020. So far, 655 county residents have died from the disease. 

While those numbers are encouraging, we’re not out of the woods yet. More than 18,400 individuals have tested positive for coronavirus in Prince George’s County since the pandemic began, and 1,014 people have tested positive for the disease in the county in the past two weeks. But even that is far reduced from the peak on May 9, 2020, when more than 4,200 people had tested positive in the county in the prior 14 days. 

What changes in Phase Two?

After 5 p.m., many non-essential businesses can reopen, but with reductions in capacity intended to maintain social distancing. This past weekend, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks outlined the regulations in an email to constituents. It reads as follows:

Gyms, fitness centers and other indoor physical activities may reopen with 1 patron per 200 square feet of fitness space, not to exceed 50% capacity. All CDC guidelines and safety precautions must be adhered to.

Some recreational establishments may now reopen with capacity limits, CDC guidelines and other requirements in place. Casinos, bingo halls bowling alleys, pool halls, indoor skating rinks and miniature golf may reopen at 50% capacity. Amusement parks may reopen at 40% capacity.

Social and fraternal clubs may reopen at 50% capacity, with safeguards in place.

Retail stores will be able to expand to 1 person per 100 square feet allowed in store, not to exceed 50% percent capacity.

Shopping malls may reopen up to 50% capacity, with safeguards and physical distancing in place.

All personal services that have remained closed, including tattoo parlors, spas and massage parlors, will be able to reopen by appointment only with 1 customer per 200 square feet, not to exceed 50% capacity. The same safety and health guidelines remain in place from the modified phase two reopening for these businesses.

Houses of worship may expand indoor services to 50% capacity, with safeguards and physical distancing requirements in place.

Childcare facilities can reopen for all children with health and safety precautions. In addition to the use of masks and gloves for all employees and having appropriate social distancing and disinfecting in place, they must also have a schedule for staggered drop offs and pickups, conduct daily symptom checks and have a strict dismissal policy in the event of positive cases.

Outdoor community pools, both public and private, may now expand to 50% capacity, but must practice proper social distancing guidelines. Indoor pools will remain closed.

Car washes are now allowed to perform internal cleaning, with all employees wearing PPE and other safeguards in place.

Outdoor youth sports may expand to no more than 100 people in any area, still in small groups with no more than 9 children and 1 coach per group.

Large gatherings may also resume with one person or family-unit per 200 square feet or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower. Venues for large gatherings must adhere to physical distancing requirements and CDC guidelines.

Editor’s note: Route 1 Reporter is – normally – a subscriber-supported local news website. Due to the state of emergency, articles about the coronavirus pandemic will be available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.

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