Health, Politics, Sci-Tech

Amid Delta variant spike, Olszewski declares local state of emergency in Baltimore County

UPDATE: The Baltimore County Council has voted, along party lines, to extend the state of emergency.

Original story below…

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TOWSON, MD— As jurisdictions across Maryland and nationwide continue to experience rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases amid the contagious Delta variant, County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Tuesday declared a local state of emergency to expand Baltimore County’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Olszewski previously declared a local state of emergency on March 13, 2020, which remained in effect until July 9, 2021.

“Government has an obligation to do all we can to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our residents. While we’ve made undeniable progress in our fight against this deadly virus, the rapid emergence of the Delta variant has made it clear that we need access to every tool in our toolbox to be able to respond to it,” Olszewski said. “We remain committed to doing whatever is necessary to keep our residents as safe as possible and to ensure that when our children go back to school next week they can remain where they belong: inside the classroom.”

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Baltimore County continues to be a leader in efficiently and effectively delivering vaccines to residents, with 74 percent of County residents aged 12 and older having received at least one dose.

However, since July 30, 2021, the 7-day case rate in Baltimore County has increased 376 percent, pushing Baltimore County within the CDC’s “substantial” transmission zone (50-99 cases per 100,000 residents) as vaccination rates vary from community to community.

The new local State of Emergency issued today will give Baltimore County the ability to quickly adopt emergency public health measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of residents, assist the County in requesting additional resources from the state and federal governments to support response and recovery efforts, and quickly procure materials and supply necessary for protecting public health.

The Baltimore County Council will hold a vote to consider continuation of the County’s state of emergency beyond August 31 in the coming days.

“Despite our best efforts to combat COVID-19 and vaccinate our residents, the continued spread of the Delta variant is deeply concerning and I applaud the County Executive’s leadership in declaring this local state of emergency,” Council Chairman Julian Jones said. “I am certain my colleagues will agree that we must take every step to protect our residents by ensuring our government has all the tools to protect the public’s health, and I will convene an emergency council meeting to extend the local state of emergency within the next week.”

All residents are encouraged to take the proper precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

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