BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County officials are following Gov. Larry Hogan’s lead when it comes to the health and public safety of its residents and reverted back to 50% capacity inside restaurants and businesses Wednesday. Gatherings are also limited to 25 people or less.

In addition, county officials announced they will be closing all county facilities starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13 as it will reactivate its pandemic response from March until metrics improve.

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COVID-19 In Maryland: Over 1,400 New Cases Reported As Hospitalizations, Positivity Rate Rise Steadily

Harford County’s positivity rate began to spike on Oct. 31 and have risen above 7% for the first time since June. As of Thursday, the positivity rate was 7.36%.

The average coronavirus case rate has also surged beginning in late October from 7.27 on Cot. 30 to 25.28 on Nov. 12.

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Harford County’s total cases are 4,329, an increase of 57, with 81 deaths as of Nov. 12.

“Public safety is my top priority in responding to this recent surge and my long term goal is to keep our economy and government services open for business,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “I understand the inconvenience, but I believe these actions will put us in a stronger position with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Harford County and beyond. As the pandemic wears on and we head into colder weather, I also want to remind folks to continue handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask when required. These three simple steps can save lives.”

Here’s what will change Friday evening:

  • Drop boxes for documents and payments will be reactivated at the county administration building at 220 S. Main Street in Bel Air.
  • All indoor parks & recreation facilities and programming will be suspended. Selected programming has been moved online.
  • Organized outdoor activities on county fields, including tournaments, are also suspended. County parks will remain open with social distancing requirements in place.
  • Following the governor’s advisory, county government employees who are authorized to telework will do so until further notice. This is to guard the county workforce while maintaining government services and operations. Harford County government will remain open for business.
  • Harford Transit will return to a modified service. Details are here.

Glassman also ordered 1,500 rapid COVID-19 tests to support a rapid response to potential cases in county government and allied agencies, including the Health Department, Harford County Public Schools, Volunteer Fire Companies and law enforcement.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

CBS Baltimore Staff