ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County marked a year since its first confirmed case of coronavirus Monday.
“A year ago today, Howard County confirmed its first case of COVID-19,” county executive Calvin Ball said. “We immediately declared a state of emergency in Howard County and closed the Mall on Columbia, The Shops at Savage Mill, as well as the movie theaters, hoping to stop unknowing spread of a virus that was clearly present in our community.”READ MORE: People In Baltimore Protest In Solidarity, Mourning Daunte Wright's Death After He Was Fatally Shot By Police During Traffic Stop In Minnesota
Since then, the county has had nearly 16,500 COVID-19 cases and 223 county residents have passed away from the virus.
“Each of these individuals are more than a number. They were loved and they will be missed,” Ball said, before holding a moment of silence.READ MORE: Pause In Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Could Delay Maryland's Goals As Baltimore City Emerges As Potential New Hotspot
To date, 78,335 or 24.1% of Howard County residents received their first dose of the vaccine.
“We’ve seen our key metrics COVID-19 fluctuate over the past week, and the virus is still very much present in our community,” Ball said. “Although more restrictions were lifted, I implore our residents to StayCOVIDSafe by wearing a mask around people not in their household, avoiding gatherings of large groups, keeping their distance, and washing their hands. We cannot let our guard down yet. With more of our community being vaccinated each week, there is hope that we can end this pandemic.”MORE NEWS: Stimulus Check Update: Are You Eligible For A Plus-Up Payment?