BEL AIR, Md. (WJZ) — Harford County Executive Barry Glassman does not plan on implementing a mask mandate amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in Maryland, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

Bordering Baltimore County announced a mask mandate Monday that went into effect Wednesday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant drives record infection and hospitalization rates in the state.

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On Wednesday, Maryland surpassed 2,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations for the first time during the pandemic, up from its previous peak of 1,952 set in January 2020. The Maryland Hospital Association on Wednesday asked Gov. Larry Hogan to reinstate a limited public health emergency.

Of those currently hospitalized, 1,657 are adults in adult care and 367 are adults in intensive care. There are 15 children in acute care and another seven in the ICU.

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“The county executive continues to urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated and get a booster as the best way to help prevent serious illness and reduce hospitalizations,” said spokesperson Cynthia Mumby. “He also encourages everyone to manage their personal risk in crowded places by following best practices. This includes wearing masks and social distancing, but he is not planning a mask mandate at this time.”

Mumby said Glassman is working with the Harford County Health Department and monitoring COVID-19 metrics daily to inform his decisions.

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