11.15.20 – WBAL – BALTIMORE
Maryland’s counties and Baltimore City have started imposing their own new restrictions to try to tamp down the rapid increase in coronavirus cases.
Baltimore City was among the first to act to tighten restrictions, which took in the city at 5 p.m. Thursday. Other jurisdictions are following suit.
Driving concern among local officials is a fast-rising rate of coronavirus hospitalizations. While not yet at levels of the spring, current levels are following a troubling trend.
Bob Atlas, president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association, said coronavirus patients take up just 10% of overall beds, but discussions are underway to manage the increase.
“Intensive care units are above 80%, adult acute beds, non-intensive care are pushing 90%,” Atlas said.
In just the past two weeks, coronavirus hospitalizations have shot up 72%: 863 Marylanders are hospitalized with coronavirus as of Thursday, compared to 502 on Oct. 29, according to Maryland Department of Health data.
“We are in a manageable situation, but (it’s) deeply concerning about what may come,” Atlas said.
Effective Thursday, Baltimore City reduced indoor dining capacity and maximum capacity at retail and religious facilities, gyms and personal services to 25%. Gatherings are limited to 10 people, and face coverings are required at all times in public.
“Please don’t look for loopholes. It is meant to keep you safe,” Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said.
Other jurisdictions have imposed new coronavirus restrictions that vary from county to county. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on Thursday also warned hotels about allowing rooms to be rented for parties for young people.
“This is not a time or the place to rent out rooms for minors in large numbers and have those children and their families become sick,” Alsobrooks said.
Harford County’s new restrictions are different from the others as they close government buildings and suspend recreational activities, but have no new impact on bars and restaurants.