Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced an emergency indoor mask mandate which will begin Friday. Pittman announced the decision Thursday, citing spikes in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
The county executive said in a statement, “I had hoped we were done with government mandates in our response to COVID, but the current rate of spread and hospitalization is not sustainable, for our hospitals, our schools, our public safety agencies, or our businesses. Masks slow the spread, and it’s time to put them back on.”
On Wednesday, county hospitals reported a record 191 COVID-19 hospitalizations, while the county’s case rate hit 109 cases per 100,000 residents per day, also a record. The county’s positivity rate on Wednesday reached 21%.
Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said in a statement: “Our hospitals are implementing crisis standards of care because they’re taking care of the highest number of Covid patients since the pandemic began. Masks are critical in slowing the spread of Omicron and this order will ensure that everybody is following the same steps to decrease the spread.”
The mandate, which will apply to all indoor public locations, will expire on at 12 p.m. on Jan. 7 unless the County Council votes for an extension.