The county executive of Howard County, Maryland, has lifted the indoor mask mandate.
County Executive Calvin Ball on Tuesday signed an executive order lifting the mandate, which was instituted in December following the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Public buildings and transit will still require masks, Ball said in a statement, and businesses can still require masks if they want to.
“At the height of the post-holiday surge, our positivity rate was nearly 30%, our case rate per 100,000 was 199, and 84 people were hospitalized at Howard County General Hospital,” Ball said in the statement. Those numbers, respectively, are now at 8.47%; 34 cases per 100,000; and 34 people hospitalized, he said.
“During the past month, we’ve seen our metrics decrease significantly, and more of our residents got their vaccines and booster shots,” Ball said.
He added that residents should still be careful in indoor spaces, and he encouraged the use of masks, despite the ending of the requirement.
In a statement, the Howard County Public School System said masks will still be required in schools, offices and on school buses.
Ball also encouraged residents to get vaccinated and boosted, saying that while 86% of residents 12 and older have had two shots, only about 56% have been boosted.
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