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Baltimore-- Mayor Young announced today that while novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is surging across the country, and we are seeing an uptick in cases in Baltimore and Maryland, he is enacting new restrictions to protect public health. Starting on November 12th, indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, restaurants must close by 10pm and bars with no food service are not permitted to open. In addition, retail, churches, and personal services can operate at 25% capacity.
According to the COVID Exit Strategy Map, Maryland continues to trend poorly on the spread of COVID19. Cases and positivity rates are up across the state, hospitalizations jumped by 23 percent over the last two weeks, and in Baltimore we are averaging 17 new cases per 100,000 people. According to the experts at the Harvard Global Health Institute, cases should be lower than 1 per 100k or a state to safely reopen. The statewide average is 15 new cases per 100,000 people.
Maryland PIRG Foundation recently released a report on PPE shortages in Maryland nursing homes. As of August 23rd, in every category, a larger percentage of Maryland’s nursing homes had no supply or a critical shortage of supply for all types of PPE such as N95 masks, gowns and hand sanitizer compared to the national average. Experts believe PPE shortages have gotten worse, not better, since the beginning of the pandemic.
In response to the Mayor’s announcement, Emily Scarr, Maryland PIRG Director released the following statement:
“Public health experts have long warned that we may face a fall surge of COVID-19 cases. Now, as positivity and case rates increase in Baltimore and across the state, Mayor Young is right to add additional public health protections. We can save lives, reduce illness and prevent extended economic hardship if we act now.
“The Mayor’s decisions are a good first step, but we know that half measures won’t cut it when it comes to containing COVID-19. We need to get cases down fast, which warrants closing all indoor dining, other high-risk activities, and calling on the state to do the same.
“COVID-19 does not respect City boundaries, and while we count on our Mayor to lead, we need Governor Hogan to step up and stop a statewide surge.
“As we approach this critical moment for the city and state, our leaders should do everything they possibly can to curb the spread of this deadly virus. Otherwise, we will lose more lives unnecessarily, and prolong economic damage for Baltimore families and businesses.
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