By Stetson Miller

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County are all areas of high community transmission of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

New data indicates there are 283 cases per 100,000 people in Baltimore over the last seven days, and the hospitalizations per case rate grew to 11.8 admissions per 100,000 cases. 

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Howard County Health Department Medical Director Dr. Kelly Russo recommends wearing a mask indoors in public, staying up to date with vaccines, getting tested if you have symptoms and if you are at high risk for severe illness, considering additional precautions, and talking to your doctor. 

Despite the higher transmission rate, she said Baltimore County is not reinstating a mask mandate at this time.  

“We have not been talking about a mask mandate. You know, we’re in a very different place now,” Russo said. “Right now, what we are seeing is, yes, there are a lot of cases but the disease seems to be very mild. Fewer hospitalizations. Fewer deaths. We have widely available treatments now which was not true in the past.” 

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Russo also said that another reason why they are not considering a mask mandate is because of the high rate of vaccination in the county. Data shows that 83.6% of county residents are currently vaccinated, according to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard. 

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott says he will consult with City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa and the city’s hospital partners about whether or not a mandate is needed.  

“Dr. Dzirasa let me know late last night about that,” Scott said. “Her and I will be meeting and discussing what plan of action we will be taking.”

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Russo says they might anticipate seeing additional cases after the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Stetson Miller