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High Levels Of COVID-19 Community Transmission Detected In Baltimore Area

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Community transmission levels of COVID-19 in Baltimore have shifted from medium to high over the past two weeks, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The change happened Thursday evening with CDC data now indicating that there are 283 cases per 100,000 people, the hospitalizations per case rate rose to 11.8 admissions for every 100,000 cases, the Baltimore City Health Department said.

Data compiled by the CDC shows Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties also have high levels of transmission, while Dorchester, Kent and Talbot counties on the Eastern Shore are seeing high rates of community spread.

The new CDC status comes nearly three weeks after City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa issued a recommendation that Baltimoreans once again wear masks when indoors in public spaces, based on rising transmission rates.

"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."

In Maryland, the positivity rate has climbed to 8.55%, up nearly 500% from its low in March. Similarly, hospitalizations have risen to more than 500 after bottoming out in April.

Dr. Dzirasa's advisory remains in place, according to the health department, which underscored the important of wearing masks indoors, particularly when community transmission levels are high.

The health department urged people to continue to don masks in indoor spaces where social distancing is not an option and encouraged the unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 vaccine and their booster shots to curb the spread of the virus.

The agency has notified Mayor Brandon Scott, Baltimore City Public Schools leadership and business leaders of the rising transmission levels. The agency said it will provide an update to the public following the release of the CDC's upcoming community transmission update in June.

To learn more about where you can get a vaccine or test kit, visit Baltimore City's coronavirus resource page.

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