TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — The Baltimore County on Monday night voted 6-1 to extend its State of Emergency period to Feb. 7, unless County Executive Johnny Olszewski declares an end to the emergency first.

Olszewski declared a local state of emergency last week on Dec. 27 to shore up the county’s COVID-19 response. At the time Olszewski also announced an indoor mask mandate that will be in place until Jan. 31.

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The emergency declaration is intended to give Baltimore County more flexibility in the way it protects residents from COVID-19, while making it easier for the county to get whatever support it needs from the state and federal governments.

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The measures come as Maryland has seen its COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge in recent weeks. Hospitalizations surpassed 3,000 in Maryland on Tuesday, with at least 500 of those in intensive care.

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CBS Baltimore Staff