ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — As coronavirus numbers continued to spike around Maryland through the weekend, Howard County officials announced additional restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

County Executive Calvin Ball announced limits to gatherings of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors — including weddings, recreational sports and programs, as well as social/fraternal organizations and association clubs. The order still excludes retail stores, offices, foodservice establishments, religious gatherings, indoor theaters and outdoor entertainment venues — who are under their own 50% capacity restrictions from the state.

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“Last night, Howard County reached an average rate of 26.7 cases per 100,000 residents, an increase from 19.1 cases per 100k just last week,” said Ball. “At this point there is widespread community transmission of COVID-19, and every individual action we take is vital to controlling and limiting the further spread of this virus. The alarms are sounding, and if you haven’t already, rethink any plans to host or attend a large gathering with family and friends. Especially with the upcoming holidays, it is critical for all our residents to understand the importance of mitigation measures like wearing a mask, keeping their distance, and washing their hands frequently.”

This restriction will go into effect this Friday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m.

Additionally, Howard County Recreation & Parks is cancelling all upcoming tournaments, and any other programs subject to change will be posted online here. Recreation & Parks will continue to operate childcare programs at their current capacity.    

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Health officials around the state and country have linked the spread of cases to family gatherings.

Many residents are planning to get tested prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, which has increased wait times and results turnaround. It’s imperative residents remember that a COVID-19 test is only indicative of a point in time and should not be considered an all clear unless you have been properly quarantining.

Howard County reported a 5.12% positivity rate and a case rate of 26.7 per 100,000 residents Sunday. Last week, Howard County administered 11,945 tests.

Howard County residents must still wear masks, keep physical distance, and wash hands frequently. For a full list of all Howard County testing locations, please click here.  

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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.