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Baltimore City officials urge people to wear face mask as COVID-19 cases increase

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 07:29:54-04

BALTIMORE — Starting tomorrow face masks will be required statewide for everyone over the age of 5 in indoor buildings including gyms, churches and other buildings.

It’s the latest effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Last week the Baltimore City eliminates indoor dining.

On Thursday, health officials said they’re seeing, on average, 137 new positive COVID-19 cases. The city’s health commissioner called the increase alarming.

"According to the recent data, we are moving back to where we were quickly, despite our best efforts. We need everyone to do their part," Mayor Jack Young said.

Data shows Baltimore is outpacing the rest of the state when it comes new cases.

“According to state data, as of July 28 the cities positivity rate was 6.2 percent,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “This is 1.4 percentage points than the state at 4.8 percent. In other words Baltimore cities positivity rate is 29 percent higher than the overall Maryland positivity rate.”

The health commissioner believes the new cases are not just the result of increased testing, but also a resurgence of infection with people not taking the virus seriously.

“We’re asking everyone to be a responsible steward,” said the commissioner. “I think we all have a responsibility to everyone in our community to make every effort to stop the spread of COVID.”

Despite the request for people to practice social distancing and wear a facemask, many are ignoring the advice.

WMAR-2 News asked the health commissioner if she would advise the mayor to shutdown restaurants and other areas of high attendance. The answer in short was no but the health commissioner said she wouldn’t hesitate to take a tougher stance if the next round of data didn’t show a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.

“From a health perspective, I think we definitely need to heavily consider it,” said Dr. Dzirasa. “The mayor and city leadership team has to consider multiple factors but certainly as a public official, my recommendation would be to look at all of the restrictions we can put in place to kind of get as back to where we were before.”