Anne Arundel County, Maryland, will not enter Phase Three of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions yet, County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Thursday.
In a statement, Pittman cited recent increases in case rates and in percentage of coronavirus tests that came back positive, and said that curbing the virus so that schools can eventually reopen for in-person instruction was the county government’s goal.
“We need to get our schools open, and the State of Maryland has given us an achievable new case rate that makes it safe to do so,” Pittman said in the statement. “We must lower our rate of spread to get there. Unfortunately, cases in our county are increasing right now, and recent experience shows clearly that if we increase activity, our rate of spread will accelerate more.”
“The data shows us that we are simply not ready to move to Stage Three,” he added.
County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman dug into the numbers at a meeting of the county’s Recovery Work Group.
“When we have reopened in the past, we have seen cases go up,” Kalyanaraman said, and that cases in the county are going up already.
“We all want to get to Stage Three and return to a sense of normalcy, but it just isn’t safe to do that yet,” Kalyanaraman said.
The two reminded residents to refrain from large gatherings during Labor Day weekend; to wear masks or facial coverings and maintain proper social distancing when they do go out; and to frequently wash their hands.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday gave counties the OK to enter Phase Three beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.
So far, in the D.C. area, Charles, Calvert, Howard and St. Mary’s counties have decided to enter Phase Three at that time, while Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, and Baltimore City, have announced that they would not.
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