HARFORD COUNTY, MD. (WJZ) — When Harford County’s health officer learned about parents planning a private prom, he decided to be proactive and make sure if the event was held, it would be safe.

“Their mind is usually made up that they’re going to do it, and just wagging your finger and saying don’t do it doesn’t work,” said Dr. David Bishai, Harford’s health officer. “For the individuals, this is what I said to them: You really shouldn’t do this but here are things that make it safer.”

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He told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren he sent a detailed document to parents urging their children remain distanced, wear masks and stay outdoors.

“We also were able to offer, thanks to the state of Maryland’s health department, a special opportunity for Covid testing at one of the local schools. That will happen tomorrow, with enough time for individuals to know their status. This isn’t just for the people going to the party, it’s for the entire school, and we want people to take advantage of this and go and find out their status.” Dr. Bishai said.

He did not reveal the name of the school.

Harford County’s positivity rate has been well above the state’s average in recent weeks. On Monday, it was 6.37% compared to Maryland’s 4.51% overall.

Both were down Monday.

“Given our current testing rates, about 6% might turn out positive, and we would want them to stay away from any social gatherings. The more we know about our status, the safer we can keep people.”

Maryland is also working to combat vaccine hesitancy.

According to Governor Larry Hogan’s office, 58.6% of Maryland adults have received at least one vaccine dose.


Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine is available again in Maryland after being put on hold for 11 days because of a handful of rare blood clot cases nationwide. Many tell us, they are still confident in J&J.

Baltimore City’s health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said at a press conference Monday afternoon that the benefits of J&J outweigh the risks.

“If you can get one shot and perhaps save your life or the rest of what you have left of it, why not?” said Larry Korycki who received the Pfizer vaccine at M&T Bank Stadium Monday.

“I’m a female in the age group that was of concern so I would have paid attention to the symptoms, but I know the odds were astronomical that any individual would have been affected,” Robin Palmer told Hellgren.

She received Pfizer but said she would have gotten Johnson & Johnson if offered.

But a Washington Post-ABC News poll found fewer than one in four Americans who have yet to be vaccinated would want Johnson & Johnson. Most do not believe it is safe.

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A CBS News poll revealed a substantial number of Americans continue to say they will not or might not get vaccinated, citing concerns about adequate testing and potential side effects, as well as recent news about clots. This reluctance, if it continues, is one reason some worry about the prospects for attaining herd immunity in the U.S.