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Prince George's County coronavirus update: Additional services suspended

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a State of Emergency in Maryland on March 5. He also issued a closure of all non-essential businesses.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on March 23 said that while the majority of businesses and services are closed indefinitely due to COVID-19, services such as domestic violence petitions and family justice services are available every day.

Additional services such as bulk trash collection are suspended until further notice. Alsobrooks said that the bus system in the county continues to operate on a reduced system and will remain free of charge for county residents.

"Coronavirus will not have the final say," Alsobrooks said. "Together we will do so and come together as a community."

Prince George's County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter said that over 50 county residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

"I noticed that people have been doing social distancing. Just stay at home," Carter said. "It is important to go outside and not get cooped up inside, but please, keep social distancing so we can flatten the curve. If we can stick together, we can make it through this."

Prince George's County Public Schools CEO Dr. Monica Goldson said the comprehensive exam for Maryland students has been canceled. Also, graduating high school students who needed to sit through the exam in order to graduate with their diploma will have that requirement waived.

On Mar. 18, Gov. Larry Hogan announced the first COVID-19 death in Maryland, as a Prince George's County resident in his 60s who suffered from an underlying medical condition. 

"It is with profound sadness that I announce the first death in Maryland as a result of the coronavirus pandemic," Hogan said in a statement. "I ask all Marylanders to join me in praying for his family and loved ones during this difficult time." 

Alsobrooks announced during a news conference on March 9 that the county is under a State of Emergency, with all government buildings throughout the county are closed to the public, effective immediately.

LINKS: Complete Coronavirus Coverage Latest Maryland Numbers Here

"I have declared a State of Emergency in the county to ensure that we get the necessary resources that we will need to conduct this important work to keep all our residents safe during the course of this pandemic," Alsobrooks said.

Previously, seven positive coronavirus cases were confirmed in Prince George's County, and 12 firefighters who potentially could have been exposed to coronavirus, Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said at a news conference on March 9.

"This is a rapidly evolving situation," Alsobrooks said.

"Right now, we're anticipating an increase of cases in the county and state," said Dr. Ernest L. Carter, Chief Health Officer at Prince George's County Health Department.

RELATED: Maryland coronavirus update: Public schools will be closed, community transmission reported

The first case of community transmission involves a man in his 60s who traveled and has been hospitalized. County officials said this coronavirus case is different from the rest because they can not detect how the man contracted the virus.

The man had no travel history and they are working with Maryland to complete an investigation, officials said. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has classified this incident as the first coronavirus community transmission case in Maryland.

"The first case of COV-19 community transmission in Maryland means we are entering a new phase of working to mitigate and limit the spread of this pandemic," Hogan said.

County officials said the 12 firefighters potentially exposed are all at home and being self-quarantined. They said they know there were three potential contacts and the firefighters were exposed to the COVID-19 patient. The county is working to investigate the cases.

Previously, a Prince George's County couple that traveled and came back from a cruise tested positive for coronavirus, Alsobrooks said. The residents are self-quarantined in their home and are in good condition.

A Prince George's County woman in her 50s also tested presumptive positive for the coronavirus, county officials said on Monday. The woman tested positive after a trip to Boston, Ma. from Feb. 25-27, Alsobrooks said.

The woman has been self-quarantined at home and is in good condition. The woman has had no contact with children and her family members are also self-quarantined in the home, Alsobrooks said.

Alsobrooks mentioned a coronavirus case involving a person that traveled from New Jersey to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference event on Feb. 27 at the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland.

She said the county is working to provide resources to those who worked or attended the conference. Officials said 353 Prince George's County police officers were at the event for security reasons and the county is taking necessary precautions to make sure that they are healthy and monitoring any potential symptoms.

Prince George's County Police Chief Henry P. Stawinski said none of the officers that attended the event have reported symptoms of coronavirus.

Alsobrooks changed the status of the county to "partial activation," which means the county released more resources and employees to work around-the-clock to prevent the spread of the disease. Alsobooks said offices are working to get the necessary equipment and supplies to ensure government buildings and the community is safe.

Prince George's County Schools Chief Operating Officer Barry L. Stanton said PGPS have canceled all school-sponsored international travel as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The school system is still monitoring out of state travel.

The county has started a coronavirus hotline to answer residents' questions about the outbreak in the county. The hotline is now running on extended hours, and will also be open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Alsobrooks said.

Residents with questions can call the hotline at 301-883-6627.

Hogan signed a new bill allowing for more funding into emergency coronavirus preparation.

Check live updates of all Maryland cases and their status here. 

WATCH: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces $50M emergency funding bill

SB1079 allows Hogan a budget amendment to transfer up to $50 million from the state's rainy day fund to the new emergency fund. The new account helps fund costs associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

"Given the rapidly evolving nature of this threat to public health, it's critical that we have the flexibility to immediately access these resources," Hogan said in a press conference Friday.

Check the status of the virus in your state with your state health department's websites by tapping below:

RELATED: Here are details on every case of positive coronavirus in the DMV

RELATED: Gov. Hogan signs $50M to go to Maryland emergency fund for coronavirus prep

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