Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties in Maryland are lifting their mask mandates in the wake of improving COVID-19 metrics.
The Anne Arundel County Health Department announced that its indoor mask requirement expired Monday, Jan. 31, while Baltimore County’s government announced its mandate would end Tuesday, Feb. 1. Baltimore will also lift its state of emergency on Feb. 7.
“We are strongly encouraged by the progress we’ve seen in recent days and remain cautiously optimistic that we will continue to emerge from this omicron wave,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said in a news release. “Moving forward, we will continue to closely monitor key metrics and remain prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to protect public health.”
Baltimore officials said that since Jan. 3, the county’s positivity rate has decreased by nearly 80%, while COVID-19 hospitalizations have fallen by nearly 50% since Jan. 11.
Anne Arundel County health officials said their county, too, has seen a significant drop in cases. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals in the county is now less than 100, the first time it’s been that low since Dec. 19, 2021.
“Through consistent prevention and timely, and time-limited, responses to surges, we can continue to protect our residents from COVID while keeping our schools, businesses, and hospitals open and healthy,” Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said in a news release.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Health said it will continue to recommend masking and encourage vaccination and testing, “while we advance treatment efforts, namely the newly available oral medications for COVID.”
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