Newsletter: Expansion of Testing, Congrats to our High School Seniors, June 2nd Primary & Resources
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
This past weekend saw crowds in Ocean City followed by a new single-day high of 1,784 new coronavirus cases in the State of Maryland. I want our economy back just as much as the next person but I am asking, heck I am begging everyone to please continue to stay home as we approach this holiday weekend. Let’s not undo all of the progress we have made in fighting COVID-19. I know it is hard. I want to hang out with my best friend and eat crabs this weekend. But I cannot because her mother, who lives with her, is fighting a rare blood cancer. Staying home is not about how you feel, it is about protecting those around you.
Earlier this week the Governor announced that the state is now able to test Marylanders who may have been exposed to the disease even if they do not have symptoms. Appointment-free testing will begin at two VEIP sites in Prince George’s County, the Hyattsville VEIP station at 7401 Jefferson Avenue starting on Friday, May 22nd (open Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m)and the Clinton VEIP station next week. You can access a test at one of these sites without a prior doctor’s order or a scheduled appointment at no-cost.
Our County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks was indirectly informed about these test sites. We appreciate the Governor’s efforts and we ask that he work more collaboratively with our County Government on these important changes. Updates from the Governor to our County about the source of staffing and supplies for these two new sites would be helpful as we are already stretched thin with the supplies and tests that our County has acquired.
We will get through this tough time as a County and as a State, but we have to all work together. We are stronger together.
Broadened Criteria for Testing, Expansion of Testing
The Governor’s newest order authorizes and encourages licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests
Appointment-free testing in Maryland begins Thursday and Friday at select sites across the State
Two new VEIP sites opening in Prince George’s County for testing
Marylanders can now get tested even if asymptomatic.
Maryland has tested 3.5% of the state’s population
For a copy of the Governor’s press release. To stay up to date with the administration's response to COVID-19, please click here.
Congratulations to our High School Seniors
Last week the Prince George’s County Public Schools announced that it is hosting a system-wide virtual graduation celebration for our graduating high school seniors this year. The event is featuring Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as the commencement speaker and will take place Saturday, May 30th on WJLA24/7 News at 7 PM and on Sunday, May 31st on ABC7 at 12 noon. If you want to give your favorite PGCPS Senior a shout-out during the program you can tweet their name and school using the hashtag #PGCPS2020Grads! Also I want to give a shout out to our valedictorians and salutatorians at our District 22 High Schools - DuVal, Northwestern, Parkdale and Roosevelt.
June 2nd Primary Election
Most voters have received their ballots in the mail. I just received mine the other day. Baltimore City and parts of Montgomery County have yet to receive their ballots. Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson called on election officials to add several in-person voting centers and additional drop boxes in Baltimore City and Montgomery County to ensure that voters are able to participate. We have been told that 10 additional ballot drop boxes have been ordered for Baltimore. This is just the latest snafu by the vendor hired by the Hogan administration. Many voters in District 22 only received their ballot instructions in Spanish. Here are the instructions in English. Make sure your ballot is postmarked on or before June 2nd .You may drop off your ballot at one of the drop off locations during Early Voting (Thursday, May 21 through Thursday, June 2nd) or on Election Day before 8 PM.
If you have not received your ballot you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-222-8683 to ask for them to send to you a ballot.
You must sign the voter oath that comes with your ballot for your vote to count.
To check on the status of your ballot, whether it was received and processed, click here.
There will be 4 limited in-person voting locations in Prince George’s County for those that are unable to vote by mail. Click here for a list of the limited in-person locations.
I know in my last email, I said that the website was fixed. They keep telling us that the website is better. In fact today, we were told that all regular unemployment insurance claimants are able to file weekly claim certifications for all prior weeks they have missed in just one session. Please let me know how if that is indeed working. I wish I had an honest answer for you about the website. I don’t. If you are continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. We will continue to harass the folks at the Department of Labor about your claim and your issue. I know they are sick of me and Dejah (my chief-of-staff) bugging them. But I don’t care because this is not acceptable. To directly access the new BEACON One-Stop site, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/ The website will be down between the hours of 1 AM – 3 AM to perform maintenance and resolve any ongoing technical issues. I hope soon I will be able to provide some good news about the website.
Grab and Go Meals for Students
PGCPS will continue to provide grab and go meals twice a week from 10 AM to 1 PM which now includes breakfast, lunch and supper. Click here for a list of all of the school locations in the County for grab and go meals.
Speaking of Elections
If you live in the 5th Congressional District, you might have seen my name on the ballot as a Delegate to the DNC Convention for Elizabeth Warren. I have been a fan of Senator Warren since I was a student in law school. Then, Professor Warren was known as an expert in consumer debt and bankruptcy law. However, Senator Warren has suspend her campaign for President and endorsed Vice President Joe Biden. As a pledged Warren delegate, I will be casting my vote for Vice President Biden this Primary and in the General election. Speaking of Biden, I am hosting a virtual house-party for Joe Biden on Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM via Zoom. Please join me and some of the leaders of the Maryland Women for Biden as we have coffee, chat about why Joe Biden is the best candidate, make a few phone calls and talk about what we can do to help him win in November. Click here to register for the event on the 30th. Several people have asked me about the Circuit Court Judges. I am voting for Judge Bereano, Curry, Kelsey, McCarthy and Serrette who are the incumbents currently on the Circuit Court bench. The election of judges is known as a retention vote. Which means if you feel as if they have not exhibited the highest quality of character, integrity, judicial temperament and education that we expect of our judges then they do not deserved to be retained. While the challengers are fine attorneys, I cannot say the incumbent judges have failed our judicial system in any way. I have had the privilege as a practicing attorney of standing before some of these judges. I know that they take their jobs seriously and with the character and temperament that we expect. They will continue to preserve the integrity of our judicial system.
County COVID-19 Resources
If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. *Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been setup throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions.Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you.
CallMaryland Hunger Solutionsat 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources
Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County.
The County is accepting applications for its Hourly Employee Relief Fund to assist residents who were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing $200 cash cards for those in need.
Childcare for Essential Employees
All child care centers are closed in the State, except for those providing child care for essential workers such as doctors, nurses, police officers, and others.Click here if you are an essential worker that needs child care.
To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county pleaseclick here.
Groups Giving Back During the Pandemic
The Hyattsville Wire, which is a great local blog, had a really great article about local businesses, non-profit organizations and restaurants who are giving back during this challenging time. If you are able, please consider supporting one of the organizations or businesses mentioned in the article. Your donation and support can make a world of difference to a family in need. We are stronger together.