BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County leaders have no plans to reinstate an indoor mask mandate, even as the county sees a high level of spread of COVID-19, County Executive Steuart Pittman said Tuesday.

Anne Arundel County, along with Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore City, is among several jurisdictions in Maryland with high levels of community transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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But while the CDC recommends wearing masks in doors, getting tested and staying up-to-date on vaccines in areas with heightened spread, Pittman told reporters he does not anticipate bringing back an emergency mask order.

“No, we put our restrictions in place when our hospitals were threatened with overwhelming numbers,” the county executive said. “And we’ve always said that hospitalization numbers are the metric that we look at the most closely.”

Pittman said the county’s hospitals are not overwhelmed. Most county residents are vaccinated, Pittman said, noting that COVID-19 generally is a manageable illness for those who have been inoculated.

The questions about a mask mandate come as Maryland’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and positivity rate have rebounded over the past few weeks.

More than 2,200 new cases were reported over the past few days, bringing the total number of cases to 1,085,628, according to the latest round of data compiled by the Maryland Department of Health.

The positivity rate has risen to 8.56%, a nearly 500% increase compared to the low of 1.45% recorded March 24.

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There are 427 patients hospitalized statewide, which represents a 266% increase compared to the low of 129 patients back in April.

State data show there are more than 4.6 million Marylanders fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The state has administered nearly 12 million doses, the vast majority of which are first and second doses.

In Anne Arundel County, nearly 87% of eligible residents have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than three-quarters (77%) are fully vaccinated.

In Baltimore City, Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa issued an advisory earlier this month strongly urging residents to once again don masks when they’re in indoor public spaces. The city has not reinstated its mask mandate.

While Pittman said COVID-19 poses less of a threat to county residents who are up-to-date on their shots, he noted that is not necessarily the case for everyone.

“For others, this is just as dangerous as it ever was, so we’re encouraging people to look at those CDC guidelines and use common sense and judgment, knowing that this virus is spreading fast,” Pittman said. “It’s very contagious.”

The county executive acknowledged that the virus has spread quickly among people who work in county government.

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“It’s a good idea to wear a mask to prevent the spread of this virus still, but we’re not putting in a mandate because we don’t have that kind of a public health emergency before us,” he said.

CBS Baltimore Staff