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Baltimore City Health Commissioner strongly recommends masks indoors as COVID-19 cases rise

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Posted at 10:03 PM, May 10, 2022

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa is now strongly recommending people wear masks indoors as COVID-19 cases begin to rise across the city and state.

Dr. Dzirasa said cases in the city rose more than 243 percent in the past 28 days.

"As a mother and as a pediatrician, I know how important this upcoming summer vacation will be. I’m sure many have already begun making plans for camp, vacations, and long overdue visits with friends and family,” Dzirasa said in a post on the agency’s Twitter page. "The summer also brings outdoor activities like festivals, concerts, and commencement ceremonies. Those plans may look totally different if we don’t get our shots and wear masks indoors as transmission levels increase."

On Tuesday, Maryland reported a positivity rate above 6 percent.

The state also recorded more than 600 cases. Both are much lower compared to earlier in the pandemic when the virus was at its peak.

Hospitalizations also remain low with a little more than 300 people currently being treated for the virus in the state’s hospitals.

Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, from Johns Hopkins, said there’s big difference In where we were then compared to where we are now.

“We have the weapons from preventing life threatening versions of COVID,” Dr. Galiatsatos said.

Dr. Galiatsatos said the vaccines have proven to work against the virus and its variants.

Baltimore top doc on the health of our city

Dr. Galiatsatos also said masks have been effective at helping limit the spread. And with cases on the rise again, he said those measures will be important to handle another surge.

“It is a germ out there, it’s not going away,” Dr. Galiatsatos said. “It’s becoming more and more contagious, and you just have to understand what would it mean if you catch it. How will it effect your life?.

Dr. Galiatsatos supports with Baltimore’s Health Commissioner’s decision to not issue an indoor mask mandate.

“From their standpoint, I think they want to be safe and not sorry if these high community cases do breakthrough and do ultimately result in hospitalizations,” he said.

Dr. Galiatsatos attributes the rise in cases to people wanting to get back to a sense of normal. To not lose that, he says it’s going to be important to continue to take the virus seriously

“Face masks work, continue wearing the facemasks,” he said. “Continue having home tests to test yourself if you have any concerning symptoms for COVID.”

Dr. Galiatsatos also said another way we’re going to get out of this pandemic is for children four and younger to become eligible for the vaccine.

He said he’s hoping that will get approved sometime soon.