Prince George’s County, Maryland, has a half-a-million test kits coming in to meet the need for coronavirus testing amid a winter surge of cases. This comes as the county — like others in the region — saw a dramatic uptick in cases during the holidays.
“It is really shocking because the county went from having one of the lowest transmission rates in the state to now having a 34% positivity rate with this omicron,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said.
With the increase in COVID-19 cases, the county is also seeing hospitals taking in more COVID-19 patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitals have had 34% of beds and 36% of ICU beds filled with people who have the virus.
“That’s the part that we’re most concerned about, is hospitalizations have gone through the roof,” Alsobrooks said.
As the county continues to encourage people to get their COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots, Alsobrooks said it has also ordered 500,000 coronavirus tests. Those tests will be handed out at schools, libraries and by community partners.
In addition to handing out more home tests, the county also plans to add another county-run testing facility in the southern part of Prince George’s County next week, according to Alsobrooks. Plus, she said the state will open three new testing sites at county hospitals.
“Obviously like everything else, it takes a little time to get up to speed; but we think we’ll soon be able to fully meet the demand,” Alsobrooks said.
Alsobrooks herself became one of the many to come down with the illness recently. She said after getting a positive test result in late December, she spent 10 days recovering from mild symptoms, such as congestion, fatigue and a headache. She credits having the vaccine and a booster for not getting a more serious version of the disease.
“I’m feeling strong again, just so grateful that I was able to make it through without hospitalization,” Alsobrooks said.
She said the county government is also seeing the strain of the illness, and many workers need to stay home.
“We most recently saw that strain during the snowstorm, where we were counting on our employees from the department of public works and transportation, who did a phenomenal job working around the clock to clear snow, in spite of having significant numbers of employees who were out with COVID,” Alsobrooks said.
She said even with the COVID-19 cases, more than 250 plow trucks were out clearing the roadways.
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