Get Vaccinated, Wear Masks, Use Caution For Holidays: Official

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PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD — As the Christmas holiday draws near, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks urges residents to use caution when gathering together to celebrate.

“While we have made tremendous progress as a county, consistently having one of the lowest infection rates in the state over the last few months, we are experiencing another winter surge of COVID-19,” Alsobrooks said at a news conference. “What’s different about this year than last year is now, we have more tools at our disposal to fight back against COVID-19. We urge residents to take precautions to slow the spread of this virus and keep your loved ones safe during this holiday season.”

Alsobrooks encouraged residents to get vaccinated if they haven't already, and asked that parents of children five and older get vaccinated as soon as possible. County officials also want residents who are fully vaccinated to get a booster shot, as studies cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that protection against the Omicron variant is up to 38 times higher when people get a booster shot. A booster shot also can increase protection against feeling symptoms from the Omicron variant by 75 percent.

Residents can find the nearest vaccine site at mypgc.us/COVIDVaccine.

Anyone traveling for the holidays should get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or end up exposed to someone who has the virus. Patch has a list of testing sites here.

"The county urges residents to exercise caution with family gatherings this holiday season. Residents should use their best judgment and make the best decisions to protect their families, including considering a more intimate setting with vaccinated family and close friends. Finally, residents are reminded to continue following the indoor mask mandate, wearing a mask when indoors at any public venue," Alsobrooks said.

Prince George’s County does not have updated county-level case rates or infection rates due to the cyberattack that impacted the state’s COVID-19 tracking data. However, the state began reporting statewide data again Monday, which shows Maryland has experienced an increase of 28,341 cases since Dec. 3. Additionally, the positivity rate went from 5.4 percent on Dec. 3 to nearly 10.3 percent on Dec. 20, which is an 89 percent increase in a little over two weeks.

According to the CDC, more than 78 percent of adults 18 and older in Prince George's County are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. When including everyone older than the age of five, 72 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and almost 90 percent of seniors are fully vaccinated, Alsobrooks noted.

This article originally appeared on the Bowie Patch