Prince George’s County will remain in Phase Two of Maryland’s coronavirus recovery plan, after an increase in the percentage of positive COVID-19 tests last week, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday during a press conference.

Preliminary data shows the positivity rate increased to 4.2 percent last week, after the county hit a low of 3.5 percent for the week of Sept. 20, Alsobrooks said.

Though the rate has remained under 5 percent for the past three weeks, Alsobrooks said that due to the fluctuating positivity rate and the approach of cold weather, the county will continue to stay in Phase Two.

One of the county’s goals is to have an infection rate below 0.9, said Dr. George Askew, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer for health, human services and education. The other major pieces of data the county is monitoring are the rate of new cases and the positivity rate. 

“We haven’t seen a steep enough and consistent enough drop in new weekly cases to think we are ready to reopen more parts of our county,” Askew said.

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In two to three weeks, as the county continues to monitor their key metrics, another update will be provided. Alsobrooks said the hope is that the county will be able to move into a “modified” Phase Three.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that indoor visitation will be allowed in nursing homes and that child care facilities can increase the number of children they care for. But Alsobrooks announced the county will not allow indoor visitation in nursing homes and the county’s children-to-teacher ratio will remain the same.

Alsobrooks also advised against door-to-door trick-or-treating as well as traditional large Halloween gatherings. And, regarding the upcoming election, she reminded voters that the safest way to vote is by mail.