Prince George’s Co. mandates coronavirus testing for all public safety employees

FILE: Prince George's County, Md. State Attorney Angela Alsobrooks speaks to reporters at the Prince GeorgeÌs County Courthouse in Upper Marlboro, Md., Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, to provide an update on the status of criminal charges against Neil Prescott. Prescott was found last week with multiple firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)(AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Prince George’s County, Maryland’s top health official is requiring all public safety employees to take a COVID-19 test to prevent spread through interacting with county residents during their work.

Department heads from police, fire and EMS, homeland security and corrections departments were all notified about the new requirement, which County Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ office confirmed to WTOP.

“We are testing all of our public safety employees because they interact with the public on a daily basis,” County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter said in a statement.

“We are taking this proactive step because we know that individuals can be asymptomatic and spread the virus and we want to have a baseline.”

During a briefing last week, Alsobrooks said the county’s overall positivity rate fell from 43% in April to just under 7% during the last week of June. She called the shift “astonishing.”

Dr. Carter said county officials want to keep it that way.

“It is important to know the status of our public safety employees so we can do all we can to ensure that they are not exposing the public to the virus and to ensure that we can continue to maintain continuity of operations of our government. At this time, we have sufficient testing capacity to undertake these efforts,” he said.

Alsobrooks’ office also said future testing schedules have not yet been finalized.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

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