Prince George’s Co. task force provides pandemic recovery update

A task force helping Prince George’s County, Maryland, tackle pandemic-related problems and emerge stronger detailed its recent achievements and ongoing challenges Wednesday.

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks created the Prince George’s Forward Task Force eight months ago.

During a Zoom meeting, co-chair Charlene Dukes praised the county’s ability to produce an adequate supply of personal protective equipment.

“The Office of Central Services has established a reliable supply chain network for critical personal protection equipment, and they’ve also leveraged the supply chain of various suppliers and their warehousing networks, both regionally and across the country, to meet our county’s current and future needs,” Dukes said.

More Wi-Fi hot spots have also been ordered for public school students.

“Some of that supply has already arrived to support households that are unable to acquire internet access for distance learning,” said Dukes.

Dr. Joseph Wright, who leads the taskforce’s health recovery subcommittee, spoke about an “ongoing critical need” to deploy COVID-19 vaccines and communicate with residents about them.

Wright said the county is working hard to change the minds of people who are hesitant to get vaccinated. As part of that effort, Alsobrooks will hold a webinar on Feb. 8 with top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci to answer questions about the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines.

The task force is also working on a plan to ensure the county government can keep running, even if as much as 40% of its staff is sidelined by the virus.

“We are in the process — almost like changing the wheels on a rolling car — of updating the continuity of operation plans,” said former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is in charge of the government operations subcommittee. O’Malley said the plan should be completed by June.

The task force is releasing recommendations in three phases. The first batch, meant to be implemented immediately, was released in a report last November. A second report, detailing actions that can be taken during fiscal year 2021, was released Wednesday.

The final report, expected in March, will lay out more recommendations to be implemented beyond this fiscal year.

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.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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