Mount Rainier launches COVID rent, food assistance programs

The city of Mount Rainier has launched its own emergency assistance fund to help residents affected by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic disruptions to buy groceries and pay rent and utility bills, at least while supplies last. The programs were unveiled at Mount Rainier’s Aug. 19, 2020, City Council meeting by City Manager Latasha Gatling. Under the program, approved residents can receive a one-time payment of up to $1,000 to help pay off overdue rent or utility payments, paid directly to the landlord or utility company. Applicants must prove they reside in the city of Mount Rainier and must show evidence of need, and must demonstrate that the need for assistance was related to the coronavirus pandemic.  Further, applicants must provide copies of bills or late-notices for rent or mortgage delinquencies.

Prince George’s County limits free covid testing

Several Prince George’s County residents say they were recently denied free coronavirus tests from the county Department of Health because of a little-known rule limiting free tests to one-per person. 

The rule surprised County Councilor Deni Taveras, who represents Langley Park and Adelphi neighborhoods hit hard by the pandemic. Taveras said she was denied a test Aug. 5, 2020, at the Rollingcrest Community Center in Chillum because she had already received a free test. One county resident who previously received three tests through the health department, also was turned away from Rollingcrest this week for similar reasons. Another resident, a teacher in Prince George’s County Schools, 

County officials provided little additional information about the policy.

College Park won’t ask landlords for lease relief

College Park City Council voted down a measure that would have seen the city endorse a letter from area elected officials calling on landlords to be lenient with student tenants who may not be returning to campus this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The vote took place during a special voting session held after Council’s regularly-scheduled Aug. 4, 2020, worksession. College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, explaining his support for endorsing the letter, said University of Maryland officials expect about half of their students to attend class remotely this fall. Some students, as reported by The Diamondback and The Baltimore Sun, are now scrambling to cancel their plans to live on or near campus as a result of the pandemic’s impacts on in-person schooling.

Data: Coronavirus growing in rural Maryland

Coronavirus is on the rebound in Maryland and – to a lesser extent – in Prince George’s County, according to official state numbers. This surge in cases is being driven by growing outbreaks in rural areas of Maryland, according to an analysis by Route 1 Reporter. In particular, exurban communities in central Maryland and along the Chesapeake Bay’s western shores have seen the number of positive tests increase most-dramatically since July 1. Meanwhile, urban areas closer to Washington D.C., hard-hit by the virus early on, have seen far less-dramatic changes in the number of new positive coronavirus cases. !function(){“use strict”;window.addEventListener(“message”,(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data[“datawrapper-height”])for(var e in a.data[“datawrapper-height”]){var t=document.getElementById(“datawrapper-chart-“+e)||document.querySelector(“iframe[src*='”+e+”‘]”);t&&(t.style.height=a.data[“datawrapper-height”][e]+”px”)}}))}();

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As of July 21, Total cases have risen to 79,545 across the state, and include 3,402 deaths.

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

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.

Coronavirus stats continue downward trend in Maryland, Prince George’s

At least 57,973 Marylanders have tested positive for coronavirus since the start of pandemic, according to data released June 7 by the Maryland Department of Health. That’s equivalent to roughly 10 cases for every 1,000 residents, statewide. But the number of positive tests reported by the state in the past 14 days, a metric Route 1 Reporter has been tracking, has continued to trend down. According to state data, there were 10,821 positive tests in the past 14 days as of June 7. The last time this number was below 11,000 was late April.

Prince George’s ‘Phase Two’ re-opening could begin June 15

Prince George’s County could enter a “modified phase two reopening” June 15. But that’s only if current, declining trends in county coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations hold steady, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday evening. “We are encouraged by the trends we are seeing in our data since announcing our modified phase one reopening, but we must remain vigilant,” said Alsobrooks. 

According to Alsobrook’s announcement, a modified phase two reopening will allow for the partial re-opening of personal services, outdoor recreation, retail establishments, food establishments and houses of worship. Prince George’s County Health Department will be tracking coronavirus test positivity rates, deaths, hospitalizations and hospital bed capacity as it prepares to make a final determination. Prince George’s County entered a modified “phase one” re-opening June 1.

Maryland covid numbers hold steady as test rate, hospitalizations decrease

Nearly 52,800 Marylanders have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with 13,016 cases diagnosed in the two weeks before May 31, 2020, according to the latest data from the Maryland Department of Health. The two-week population of cases continues to plateau, not moving much even after testing was expanded to individuals without symptoms.

Statewide, the positivity rate for coronavirus testing is dropping persistently. As of May 31, 2020, the statewide positive test rate is 10.9 percent, the lowest level seen since April 15, 2020. Maryland has now conducted 348,773 COVID-19 tests, including 9,412 tests over the 24 hours before May 31, 2020. Prince George’s County and Montgomery County, with positivity rates still above the rest of the state, continue to see steady decreases.

College Park approves $1.7M coronavirus relief fund

College Park City Council unanimously approved a $1.65 million coronavirus relief package designed to aid businesses and provide direct aid to city residents affected by the pandemic’s disruptions. 

The vote took place at College Park’s May 26, 2020, City Council meeting, held virtually. The measure is expected to be funded through federal disaster aid reimbursements. 

The biggest line item in the relief package is a $1 million small business assistance grant program. Only College Park city businesses with 25 or fewer full-time may apply. The program provides up to $15,000 per business for to offset losses from business interruptions or decreased customer demand caused by the emergency measures imposed to try to stem the spread of the disease. The grants are further restricted to commercial entities with no more than 10 outlets.