ANNAPOLIS, MD, December 20, 2021 — Due to a sustained increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations and outbreaks, the Anne Arundel County Department of Health strongly advises that all people 2 years and older should wear a mask in indoor public areas and outdoors in crowded areas where distancing is not possible. All businesses should require that staff and customers wear masks in indoor and outdoor settings with the exception of activities that cannot take place while masked. Masks should be well fitting and cover the nose and mouth.
Over the past three weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations at the two county hospitals, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Baltimore Washington Medical Center, have more than doubled to approximately 95 people and the number continues to rise. This has put extreme stress on our hospital systems and health care professionals and will lead to changes in service as outlined by the Governor’s order last week.
Over the past two weeks, outbreaks across all settings in the county have increased by over two-thirds to over 80. Outbreaks are recorded in settings like schools, nursing homes, child care facilities, assisted living and other similar settings.
While case rate data is unavailable over the past two weeks due to the state IT issues, all available indicators show increasing spread of COVID-19 and an increase in the severity of COVID-19.
We are entering the coldest months when transmission of COVID-19 is highest. The winter holidays were a source of increased spread of COVID-19 last year and with no restrictions in place this year, is expected to fuel spread again. Greater numbers of the Omicron variant are being detected.
In addition to the masking advisory, the Department of Health strongly recommends that everyone eligible get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, people who are unvaccinated are 14 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated and 20 times more likely to die than those who are fully vaccinated and boosted.