Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman has been in quarantine after exposure to COVID-19.
During a briefing on Tuesday, Pittman told reporters that it happened last week during a visit to a proposed kayak launch site, and even though everyone was masked and outdoors, “the health department thought that there was enough risk of exposure to quarantine.”
Pittman tested negative on Monday, and his quarantine will be lifted later this week if he has no symptoms, but he called it a reminder that everyone still has to do their part, with the county close to marking its 500th death.
“I do want people to remember that the work that we are doing is about saving lives,” Pittman said. “It’s also about jobs and income and mental health and education. And the fact that we are lifting some restrictions, I think, is the right thing to do given what our case rates are doing.
“But that does not mean that this thing is over and we have to behave any differently.”
There are signs of improvement: The seven-day moving average of new cases per 100,000 people was 21.4 as of Monday, down from 64.9 nearly a month ago. Hospitalizations are also down from a month ago — 98 occupied beds on Monday, compared with 168.
In the meantime, just over 8% of the county’s population (46,992) has received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and less than 2.9% (16,471) has been fully vaccinated.
And, like most of the nation, Anne Arundel County has been struggling to secure additional doses. It announced on Monday that it would cancel second-dose clinics for Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Maryland county is set to get 3,400 doses in its vaccine allotment this week, according to county Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman. But demand vastly exceeds the available supply, with about 39,000 people preregistered in Phase 1b.
“It’s going to take well into March to get through this group,” Kalyanaraman said.
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