TOWSON, Md. — The spike in COVID-19 cases, while anticipated with the cold weather, is pushing Baltimore County to the brink of restoring restrictions, and has left County Executive Johnny Olszewski pleading with residents to remain vigilant.
“All of us want this pandemic to be over, but our frustration with the disruption to our lives cannot stop us from doing the difficult, but necessary work of slowing the spread of this virus,” said Olszewski.
Over the last two weeks, the rate of COVID cases has doubled in the county and the positivity rate has jumped over 70%.
Hospitalizations over the last month surged by over 150%.
County leaders say residents should not let their guard down in spite of the news that Pfizer has come up with a vaccine with an amazing 90% effectiveness rate.
“Once it is available for the entire community, in order for us to vaccinate the entire jurisdiction, the entire community, the entire nation, it’s going to be almost a year,” said County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch.
The county announced it is allocating more CARES money to fund additional grants for restaurants and for the school system to purchase more protective equipment as it prepares to reopen---up to a $100 per student, but for now, the challenge is for residents to keep the virus in check.
“Avoid gatherings, avoid parties and be responsible by wearing a mask all of the time,” said Olszewski. “These are the best things that each of us can do. As I said before, I get it. The fatigue is real. I feel it to, but the virus does not care. We can’t stop now.”
If the case trend continues and hospitalizations continue to mount, Olszewski says he’ll have no choice, but to look at rescinding some of the openings he made early in the year.