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COVID-19 (coronavirus) is caused by a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, China. This is a new virus that hasn’t caused illness in humans before. The first human case of the COVID-19 virus in the United States was identified on January 21st in a Washington state resident who had recently traveled to Wuhan. There is still much to learn about COVID-19.Currently, the reported symptoms of COVID-19 include:
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:
Everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus. Some people are more likely than others to become severely ill, which means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe, or they may even die. We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, we will continue to update and share information about the risk for severe illness.
People at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness: (visit CDC.gov for more details)
Please visit the Health Department’s dedicated coronavirus webpage (health.mypgc.us/coronavirus) for the latest case counts for Prince George’s County and Maryland.
The County is currently in Phase 2 of reopening, which means essential and non-essential businesses are allowed to open as long as they follow CDC safety guidelines by requiring customers to wear masks, physically distance and abide by in-store customer capacity limits. Some outdoor and indoor activities are also allowed to open as long as those same CDC safety guidelines are followed. Please visit our County Phased Reopening webpage for detailed information about the County’s current reopening phase.
The Prince George’s County Health Department is taking the appropriate steps to keep Prince Georgians safe and healthy from the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. They are receiving regular updates and guidance from the State of Maryland Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as other state and regional public health partners. The County activated the Emergency Operations Center and Joint Information Center at an enhanced level for Prince George’s County on March 4, 2020. The level was raised from enhanced to a partial activation by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on March 10, 2020. The County Executive declared a state of emergency on March 16, 2020. This allows us to more closely monitor the situation and quickly respond as this situation evolves, and also provides us greater access to resources to support our residents and small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
We encourage everybody to get tested. Residents should contact their primary care physicians and ask if they have tests to offer in a timely manner. Residents can receive COVID-19 tests at one of the Prince George’s County Health Department sites it operates or supplies.
Find a list of Health Department testing sites throughout the County, as well as sites run by the State and private groups across the region, at health.mypgc.us/COVIDtesting.
The County Health Department offers FREE COVID-19 tests for individuals with or without symptoms that have been exposed to or suspected to have been exposed to a COVID-19-positive person.Patients do not need an appointment, a doctor’s prescription, or insurance to get tested. All County-run testing sites accommodate testing for those in a vehicle or on foot.
Call the coronavirus hotline at 301-883-6627 and PRESS 2 between the hours of 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM if you have questions about the County’s testing program.
Please regularly check our testing webpage (health.mypgc.us/COVIDtesting) for updates about our testing sites and policies. Another good source for information and updates is the Health Department’s social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (all handles are @pgchealth).
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.
We encourage every resident to stay informed. The Prince George’s County Health Department has a dedicated coronavirus webpage that updates regularly: health.mypgc.us/coronavirus. The State of Maryland website is also available: Health.maryland.gov/coronavirus. If you need further assistance or have additional questions, please contact the Health Department at 301-883-6627. You can also call Maryland 2-1-1, 24 hours a day.
All levels of government, have taken some action to prevent evictions/foreclosures during this time. In Prince George’s County, no evictions from residential or commercial properties are allowed during this time. The County launched the Emergency Rental Assistance program through the Dept. of Social Services. That program is currently closed after receiving thousands of applications from residents.We also seek to provide additional support to our non-profits that provide housing counseling for homeowners who are now unemployed. We will be providing more information about these resources as they become available. You may check our resources page for the latest information to assist tenants.
The CARES Act, signed into law Mar. 27, 2020, provides 120 days of eviction relief for tenants in federally-backed housing. Specifically, you may not be served with an eviction notice until July 25, 2020, and the notice must give you 30 days to leave the property (Aug. 24, 2020).During the 120-day eviction moratorium, your landlord may not charge you late fees, penalties, or other charges for paying your rent late. It’s important to note that the eviction moratorium does not relieve you of your obligation to pay your rent. It merely forbids your landlord from evicting you during that period for late payment.
If you are a homeowner, you most likely qualify for a forbearance as a result of the federal stimulus recently passed, which means you can delay your mortgage payment (for up to a year) if you’re having a financial hardship. The most important point is that you need to call your bank; you cannot simply stop paying your mortgage. If you have a federally-backed mortgage (like FHA), your bank is required to give you an option that does not raise your monthly payment once you resume payments. Many lenders are also offering similar types of assistance for auto loans and credit cards, but again, you must call your lender.
Through our Stand Up & Deliver Program, we are partnering with local non-profits, and our local restaurants to provide food and/or prepared meals weekly to our seniors, families, and individual residents. We also continue to work with the County Council and our Office of Community Relations to identify all sites in the County that are still open and providing services to residents. Continue to monitor our website for information on pop-up food events.
While you wait for results, stay at home and self-isolate. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wear a face covering when you are around others; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. Monitor your symptoms. If your symptoms get worse, please call your health care provider’s office. If you are having a medical emergency, such as difficulty breathing, call 911. Tell the 911 operator that you were tested for COVID-19 and are waiting for results.
The County launched the COVID-19 Business Recovery Initiative to assist local small businesses facing economic hardship by the spread of COVID-19. This initiative was a public-private partnership of County and private resources that provided loans and grant funding of up to $20 million for area businesses. The COVID-19 Business Recovery Initiative assisted small, local, and minority-owned enterprises, who faced closures and layoffs, with retaining their pre-pandemic workforce and sustaining operations during the global pandemic.
The Legacy Fund for small business development was established with a $1 million grant from the Greater Washington Community Foundation to provide critically needed access to capital for small businesses in Prince George’s County. The fund was part of The Community Foundation in Prince George’s County’s equity and economic mobility initiative. The overall goal of the initiative is to eliminate social and economic disparities and help individuals, families, and collective groups improve their social and economic status. Small businesses that fit the eligibility requirements received grants for up to $10,000 to support operating expenses including payroll, suppliers, rent, and other business-critical costs.
Due to an appropriation of $2 million of CARES Act funding, child care providers in Prince George’s County may apply for grants to cover reopening expenses through the Child Care Provider Recovery Program. Eligible child care providers may receive a grant up to $20,000 for licensed child care centers and up to $3,000 for registered family child care homes to support reopening costs, including personal protective equipment (PPE), payroll, supplies, rent, fixed debt payments and other business operating costs. Applications will be accepted between September 9, 2020, and October 2, 2020.
For those who would like more information, please contact the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation at 301-583-4650 or visit their website at www.pgcedc.com.
In addition to the $15 million relief fund for small businesses, the Prince George’s County Strategic Partnership Office is coordinating efforts with philanthropy, nonprofits, government, and small business leaders to collect and organize resources and funds for those providing COVID-19 relief efforts for Prince George’s County. This innovative public-private partnership will provide an additional $900,000 in grants to support local nonprofits to help them deliver the resources and assistance needed by the community during these challenging times. Two of the organizations raising funds include the Greater Washington Community Foundation and the United Way of the National Capital Area.
The grants will be administered by The Greater Washington Community Foundation, as part of its COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. The fund was established to support emergency preparedness and response efforts to mitigate the impact on disadvantaged communities in the area. For more information on this fund and others, please visit The Greater Washington Community Foundation website at www.thecommunityfoundation.org.
The Division of Unemployment Insurance’s website and call centers are currently experiencing a high call volume due to COVID-19, result in longer than normal wait times.To file for unemployment insurance via phone, contact the Claim Center at 410-949-0022. The call center telephone hours are Monday through Friday, from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.To file online, visit: https://secure-2.dllr.state.md.us/NetClaims/Welcome.aspxIf you are having difficulty placing a call or accessing the website, claimants can e-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Employers can e-mail questions to email@example.com or contact 410-767-2412. You can also contact Employ Prince George’s at 301-618-8400 or visit their website at www.employpg.org.
Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, all evictions and foreclosures have been suspended until further notice. If you are facing an illegal eviction, you may seek free legal assistance from any the following:
Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County, Inc.firstname.lastname@example.org://www.clspgc.org/
Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. of Prince George’s County301-429-8743
District Court Self-Help Resource Centers410-260-1392https://mdcourts.gov/selfhelp
Maryland Legal Aid866-635-2948https://www.mdlab.org/
CASA (MD, Prince George’s County Welcome Center)240-821-5816 or 240-491-5784https://wearecasa.org/