BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Most Baltimore city zip codes are reporting a COVID-19 positive rate of 5% or more, according to the city’s health commissioner

Only four out of 27 Baltimore city zip codes are below 5%, said Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. She said several of the zip codes are approaching 10% positivity rate.

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“I have warned of the consequences if social distancing, mask wearing and harm reduction guidelines were not followed,” Dzirasa said. “Our hospital capacity would be strained, our fatality rates would increase and the number of new cases would continue to rise.”

This past month, Baltimore city saw its highest number of new COVID cases since the pandemic began.  The state of Maryland saw its highest hospitalizations ever Wednesday.

She warned December could be the deadliest month for COVID to date.

“If previous trends continue, we expect December to be one of the deadliest since the pandemic began,” said Dzirasa.

December Will Be ‘One Of The Deadliest Months’ For COVID, Baltimore Officials Say

Despite city officials’ best efforts to urge people not to travel or gather for the Thanksgiving holiday, Dzirasa said many did, and the city saw an increase in testing the last week of November.

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“I would expect to see continued increase in new cases due to COVID exposure during travel sometime over the next few days at a time when our hospitals are already at 85% of their maximum capacity,” she added.

Dzirasa said they know there is widespread community transmission in Baltimore City — meaning COVID-19 is found throughout the community and can be spread by people who appear to be well.

CORONAVIRUS RESOURCES: 

As his first official duty as the city’s new mayor, Brandon Scott announced that both indoor and outdoor dining would be closed at restaurants and that several entertainment venues would also be closed. He also tightened other restrictions.

Baltimore Closes Restaurant Indoor And Outdoor Dining, Tightens COVID Restrictions

“When it comes to the wellbeing of our residents, I am not afraid to do the right thing over the popular one. This is about saving lives. Nothing more, nothing less,” the mayor said, “and instituting these restrictions today for the public health of the residents of Baltimore. I am committing to you, the people of Baltimore, that I will be here every week to bring you the necessary information as we continue to battle this pandemic with the hope that you will make informed decisions for you and your family.”

City officials again urged residents not to travel for the holidays, continue to wear masks and social distance.

“I urge everyone to practice social distancing, frequent hand washing and mask wearing and please stay home if you’re not feeling well,” she said. “Please reduce activities outside of the home and avoid activities with others outside of your immediate household.”

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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