Md. county leaders weigh actions in light of surging COVID-19 hospitalizations

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman is urging county residents to get their COVID-19 booster shots, noting that the number of coronavirus hospitalizations in the Maryland county have doubled to 134 within a one-week period.

“Three-quarters of those people are not vaccinated” said Pittman, who also asked residents to “please wear the damn mask” if they need to go out in public places and keep their distance from others.

County executives in Howard and Baltimore counties recently re-imposed mask mandates, but Pittman said he would not because the county council holds that authority.

“I believe that at their meeting next week, they’ll be discussing that issue,” Pittman said Tuesday in a briefing.

While he could declare a county emergency for a period of seven days, Pittman said it would then be up to the council to act.

“Rather than play yo-yo with these decisions, we’re letting the county council debate this first,” he said.

Pittman said that he is concerned about the jump in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and he has spoken to public health experts about the issue of vaccine mandates.

“If you end up shaming people into doing things, which sometimes comes with the requirement given the politics of all this, you get a certain amount of pushback,” Pittman said.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner said in a tweet that she’s asking her county’s Board of Health to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday “to discuss the current level of risk and an indoor mask requirement.”

On Wednesday, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will be holding a weekly media briefing on the county’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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