Cases Are Down, But Super Bowl Spike Could Hit Prince George's

Jacob Baumgart
·6 min read

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD — Prince George's County has started to contain its coronavirus outbreak once again. The county battled a steep surge from Halloween to the New Year.

There was a switch in mid-January, however. Numbers started falling, and the vaccine rollout began, albeit at the slowest rate in the state.

Most indicators have dropped to their early winter levels. The positivity rate and Intensive Care Unit hospitalizations have seen upticks, but most metrics have eased up.

Last week's 1,677 infections are down 560 from the week prior. The virus also killed 26 county residents last week, which is six fewer than the week before, the Maryland Department of Health said.

The Prince George's County Health Department is pleased to see the improvement, but it warned that potential spread at Super Bowl parties may threaten this progress. Health officials urged residents to watch the game from home.

"The Health Department strongly recommends not gathering with those outside your immediate household on Super Bowl Sunday," officials tweeted before the big game. "Let’s continue to keep our loved ones, friends and neighbors safe."

The county saw surges after other party occasions like Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. It will take about two weeks to see whether gatherings contribute to a spike in cases.

(Story continues below tweet)

Here's a look at where the numbers stand in Prince George's County.

Vaccine Update

  • Currently: 4.06 percent

  • Trend: Up by 0.75 percentage points

The state tallies the number of Marylanders who have gotten the immunization on this website. So far, 36,897 Prince George's County residents have gotten their first shot. That's up by 6,790 from last week, and it's 4.06 percent of the population.

Prince George's County continues to have the lowest immunization rate in the state. The second slowest jurisdiction, neighboring Charles County, has already vaccinated 5.61 percent of its population. Talbot County leads the way with 14.84 percent inoculation.

The second dose has reached 7,889 Prince Georgians. That's 3,655 more than a week ago, and it's 0.87 percent of all county residents.

The vaccine rollout has five phases: 1A, 1B, 1C, 2 and 3. The following residents were part of stage 1A. Though Maryland has already opened the door to more locals, these people can still get the inoculation:

  • Hospital and frontline health care workers

  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities and nursing homes

  • Frontline first responders and essential public safety workers

  • All licensed, registered and certified health care providers

  • Department of Corrections staff

The state entered phase 1B of vaccination on Jan. 18. That enabled these Marylanders to get the inoculation:

  • Anybody age 75 and older

  • Residents of congregate living facilities

  • School staff

  • Those needed for continuity of government

  • Child-care providers

  • High-risk inmates

Maryland began stage 1C on Jan. 25. Residents age 65 to 74 are now eligible, as are essential workers in lab services, agriculture, manufacturing and the postal service. Gov. Larry Hogan reminded Marylanders the state does not need to vaccinate everybody in each phase before moving on to the next.

For more information on Prince George's plan, click here. To see when you'll be eligible for the inoculation, read Patch's explainer. Check out our how-to guide to learn how to sign up for the shot.

Coronavirus Case Rate

  • Currently: 26.35

  • Trend: Down by 8.79

Health officials focus on several metrics to evaluate the coronavirus pandemic. The most commonly used are the case rate, hospitalizations and percent positivity.

The case rate is a per-capita measure that makes it easy to compare places with different populations. A jurisdiction's case rate is the average number of new coronavirus infections-per-day that it registers over a rolling week per 100,000 people.

Prince George's County's case rate is still above its summertime low, but it has fallen to 26.35. That's down by 8.79 from this time last week, and it's the lowest since Nov. 13, 2020. The case rate has plummeted since Jan. 14, when Prince George's set a record high of 58.83.

The county's case rate hit a previous peak of 38.85 on May 7, 2020. It reached an all-time low of 7.57 on July 2, 2020.

Hospitalizations

  • Currently: 199

  • Trend: Down by 7

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations declined for the fourth straight week, but they are still soaring. The disease left 199 Prince George's County residents hospitalized on Sunday. That's down seven from the week prior, and it's the lowest since the week of Dec. 13, 2020.

Prince George's is easing down from its Dec. 27 peak of 217 hospitalizations, which were the second-most ever. The record high of 244 came in the week of May 3, 2020. Hospitalizations hit an overall low of 44 in the week of Sept. 20, 2020.

ICU Hospitalizations

  • Currently: 69

  • Trend: Up by 3

Covid ActNow, a coronavirus statistics website, estimates that Prince George's County has 122 beds in the intensive care unit. Hospitals need to save some of these beds for emergencies that aren't related to coronavirus.

Last week, Prince George's had 69 patients in the ICU with the virus. That's up three from the week prior, and it's the most since late December of 2020.

This is the county's third straight week with an increase in ICU usage. ICU hospitalizations peaked at 75 in the week of Dec. 27, 2020 after they bottomed out at 11 in the week of Aug. 2, 2020.

Positivity Rate

  • Currently: 7.64 percent

  • Trend: Up by 0.45 percentage points

The county's positivity rate increased slightly, snapping four straight weeks of decline. This is the percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive over a moving seven days.

The statistic also measures whether an area has enough tests to identify most of its infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a positivity rate of less than 5 percent demonstrates that a region has enough testing to control its outbreak.

Prince George's County's positivity rate rose to 7.64 percent on Sunday, which is up by 0.45 percentage points from this time last week. The positivity rate reached a recent low of 7.19 on Jan. 31 before ticking upward slightly. The percent positivity hadn't been that low since Nov. 11, 2020.

The rate was on a steady decline since Jan. 3. That's when the positivity rate peaked at 11.92 percent, which was the highest since June 5, 2020. The positivity rate is down from its May 2, 2020 high of 41.95 percent, but it's still up from its Sept. 24, 2020 low of 3.46 percent.

Total Cases And Deaths

Prince George's County's 69,779 coronavirus infections are the most in the state. The virus is blamed for the death of 1,234 county residents.

RELATED:

Have a story idea? Please contact me at jacob.baumgart@patch.com with any pitches, tips or questions. Follow me on Twitter @JacobBaumgart and on Facebook @JacobBaumgartJournalist to stay up-to-date with the latest Anne Arundel County and Prince George's County news.

This article originally appeared on the Bowie Patch