According to the CDC, the city of Baltimore has transitioned from “medium” to “high” in just two weeks. (Photo by Patrick Assalé on Unsplash)

By Special to the AFRO

In just two weeks, the Baltimore region has transitioned from “medium” to “high” on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Transmission level system. The re-categorization took place on May 26. New data indicates there are 283 cases per 100,000 people in the region over the last seven days, and the hospitalizations per case rate grew to 11.8 admissions per 100,000 cases.

Baltimore City Commissioner of Health Dr. Letitia Dzirasa recently urged City residents, regardless of vaccination status, to mask in public indoor settings on May 10 as Baltimore was trending from “low” to “medium.” This recommendation remains in effect as the Health Department evaluates the trajectory of the current wave of cases.

“The most important thing to remember is that we have the tools to fight this,” Dr. Dzirasa said.  “Vaccines, tests, and masks coupled with a solid hygiene routine are enough to keep many healthy people out of the hospital as we work to determine whether we are at the end, middle, or launch point of this surge in cases.”

The Health Department has begun its outreach to City stakeholders as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. Dr. Dzirasa has briefed Mayor Brandon Scott, representatives from the business community, and City Schools representatives over the past week and plans to advise the public on next steps once the CDC releases its next community transmission update at the beginning of June.

As the Commissioner and her team evaluate the situation, we continue to reiterate the importance of wearing masks indoors during periods of elevated community transmission levels.  Individuals voluntarily wearing a mask indoors and getting the unvaccinated immunized is the best way to slow transmission; protect our vulnerable residents; and begin to reverse this uptick in cases. For those interested in getting the vaccine or finding test kits, please visit coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov for more information. Free test kits and other resources are also available at local City Libraries.

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