No Indoor Mask Authorization for Anne Arundel County, Pittman Says – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) – While officials in Baltimore and Howard County issued an order to wear face masks indoors to combat the spread of COVID-19, Anne Arundel County isn’t following — at least not yet.

County Executive Steuart Pittman Anne Arundel said Tuesday that unlike his colleagues in those counties, he does not have the authority to issue such an authorization. But he said he hopes the county council will discuss that at its meeting next week.

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“It’s a slow process when it’s a legislative process rather than part of an emergency order,” Pittman said. “But I don’t have the authority to do that, so we’re waiting to see what the county council will do.”

Along the same lines, Pittman said he has no plans to declare a state of emergency, although he could issue an interim declaration. He said he wanted to wait for direction from the council.

“Instead of yo-yoing these decisions, we are letting the county council debate this first,” Pittman said. “And that’s what they’re going to do… we expect the law to be enacted on Monday.”

The discussion about new safety measures comes as Maryland grapples with a growing number of infections and hospitalizations, as well as a growing number of people testing positive.

As of Tuesday, the state has reported more than 1,800 COVID-19 patients, 6,500 new cases and 17.58% positivity rate.

The county executive said the number of patients being treated for COVID-19 at University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center and Anne Arundel Medical Center to 134, a week after that number doubled to 85 hospitalizations.

On Tuesday, both hospitals switched to emergency protocols based on recent spikes they’ve seen in the number of patients they’re treating for COVID-19.

“The bottom line is (these hospitals) are doing everything they can to make sure they can serve the people who need them most,” Pittman said. “So that means having to rotate staff and not do the procedures that don’t have to be done now.”

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Three-quarters of people hospitalized at county hospitals are unvaccinated, the county executive said. He said the rest were vaccinated people who were older or had pre-existing medical conditions.

After distributed 100,000 home test kits last week, the county is ramping up testing efforts.

The county executive said the county has ordered an additional 200,000 test kits, which officials hope will begin distributing next week. This time, Pittman said, the effort will be slower and more comprehensive to ensure families needing testing are not overlooked.

Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the county health officer, said the county’s infection rate has quadrupled in the past three weeks, there will be changes in the way the health department conducts contact tracing.

“We will have to prioritize the places we contact, so we will focus on the areas where people are most vulnerable — childcare, homeless shelters, assisted living, rehabilitation home, detention center,” Dr. Kalyanaraman said.

Saying that unvaccinated people are three and a half times more likely to test positive, Kalyanaraman urged people to get vaccinated if they haven’t and get a booster shot.

“Adjuvants help address both your body’s weakened immunity and the changing virus,” he says.

Pittman urges county residents to do their part to limit the transmission of COVID-19, whether that means getting vaccinated or booster shots or avoiding large gatherings in places where there is potential for transmission. orchid.

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“If you want to make sure that hospitals are always available to your loved ones and you for any emergency you may have, whatever medical care and care you may have, may need, please do everything possible to slow the spread of this virus,” he said.

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/12/28/anne-arundel-county-steuart-pittman-covid-19-response/ No Indoor Mask Authorization for Anne Arundel County, Pittman Says – CBS Baltimore

Dustin Huang

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