PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend its current, indoor mask mandate through March 9, as well as the COVID emergency declaration. Both were set to expire on Jan. 23.
As of Jan. 14, Prince George’s County is seeing more than 32% of COVID tests come back positive as well as more than 200 new cases per 100,000 residents. Both metrics put the county in the critical risk level category, according to Prince George’s County Schools. Hospital capacity was at 36% on that date, which is in the high-risk category. Anything less than 30% would send the risk category into critical.
The council last voted in November 2021 to extend their indoor mask mandate as omicron became a COVID variant of concern and cases began to surge.
So far in the pandemic, the COVID emergency has already been extended 15 times in the county.
In May 2021, the county lifted its mandate as cases reached their lowest point since the pandemic began. The mandate was then once again reinstated in August.
On Tuesday, schools in the county returned to in-person learning for the first time since the Christmas break.
“By allowing us to go virtual for these past two weeks, it provided us adequate time for any positive cases from the holidays to subside," Dr. Monica Goldson, CEO of the Prince George's County School system, said in a telephone town hall last week.
Goldson outlined the steps the school system will take as classes restart Tuesday, which include distributing rapid test kits and KN95 masks to students and staff, randomly testing more students and closing athletic events to fans through the end of January.