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Baltimore City Mayor to announce COVID-19 update

Posted at 7:42 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 07:44:26-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott is giving a COVID-19 update at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

No details about the announcement have been released, but there have been discussions about a vaccine mandate for city employees.

This was brought up in a city council hearing on Tuesday. The hearing was specifically for the Health, Environment and Technology Committee, which is focusing on a safe transition to work after COVID-19 for Baltimore City employees.

Chairperson Danielle McCray said, "there have been conversations surrounding the mandatory vaccination of city employees within our federal offices on a state level. Is that something that Baltimore City is considering?"

In response, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa said, "I know city leadership has been having active discussions around this with input from many members who are actually on, presenting on this committee today. I know that has been a discussion at the city leadership level... so within the mayor's office."

McCray followed by asking, "do we know within this particular committee when we know we'll have some type of announcement about it?"

Dzirasa deferred that question to Nina Themelis, a representative for the mayor's office. She answered stating, "I don't have a good response for that but I'm happy to bring that back to the mayor's office and follow up with you."

McCray then inquired about a vaccination incentive program for city employees.

"I don't know if it's appropriate to get ahead of the mayor and the senior staff," said Todd Carter, a city leader. He added, "I would, if anything, ask we defer to Director Herbert. If there's something he's aware of and open to share at this time."

Quinton Herbert, the Director of the Department of Human Resources, said, "I would defer to the mayor’s office. I think that's something we could get back to you on about when an announcement would be forth coming surrounding a vaccination incentive program."

Director Herbert also vaguely talked about the number of city employees vaccinated. He said they're collecting this data on a voluntary basis right now. He said the vaccination rate of city workers mirrors that of the general population.

The city offered two mobile vaccination clinics over the summer and have five planned for the fall to help vaccinate employees. They also have a stationary clinic available for employees at the War Memorial building.

WMAR-2 News will be livestreaming Mayor Brandon Scott's presser on our Facebook, so be sure to tune in for updates.