By CBS Baltimore Staff

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Howard County Executive Calvin Ball on Thursday announced the county is reimplementing its indoor mask mandate effective at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26.

Masks will be required indoors in all businesses and facilities open to the public, as well as public transportation in the county.

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“With the rapidly multiplying number of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron and Delta variants, positivity rates in double digits, and increases in hospitalization, this is a necessary step to further protect our residents,” said Ball. “Being vaccinated, getting a booster, and wearing a mask are the three best ways to protect yourself and those around you.”

Maryland saw a record single-day high of 6,869 new COVID-19 cases Thursday, and hospitalizations surpassed 1,500, triggering pandemic plans at hospitals statewide.

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Maryland’s testing positivity rate has climbed to 12.8 percent.

While Howard County leads Maryland counties in percentage of residents vaccinated at nearly 87%, only 74% of its seniors 65 or older are vaccinated.

“Masks are a simple and effective tool we can all use to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community as we continue to observe an increase in cases across Howard County,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman. “The contagious nature of the Omicron variant has increased the need for everyone to practice basic prevention techniques, like getting vaccinated including a booster, wearing a mask, and staying home if feeling ill.”
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CBS Baltimore Staff