Baltimore City Health Commissioner Stresses COVID-19 Safety Protocols

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa emphasized Wednesday the importance of continued adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols as Halloween approaches and the weather begins to cool down.

“Anytime you’re going outside and leaving your home you should wear your face covering. Anytime that there is a possibility that you will be less than six feet away from someone who is not a member of your household you should have on a face covering. That’s both indoors and outdoors,” Dzirasa said in an interactive Facebook Live conversation.

Baltimore City has 16,928 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 457 deaths from the virus. The number of confirmed cases in the city has increased 5% in the past four weeks and the positivity rate has increased 24% during that period. The number of COVID-related deaths in the city has declined 33% in the past four weeks. Baltimore City is in Stage 2 of the state’s recovery plan. Most of Maryland is now in Stage 3 of the recovery plan. Baltimore City has more positive cases than that of most of the state’s 24 jurisdictions. In comparison, Howard County has less than 6,000 positive cases, Frederick County has less than 5,000 positive cases and Harford County has less than 3,500 positive cases.

“Even if you are walking down the street by yourself, if you are able to maintain six feet of distance-you don’t necessarily have to have the face mask on,” Dzirasa added. But if there’s the slightest possibility that you could come into contact with someone less than six feet-you should have your face mask on.”

Dzirasa hammered her point home.

“It’s better to have the mask and not need it, than to need it and not have it.”

Drizrasa noted that outdoor activities are considered less risky than indoor activities.

“Anytime you leave your house there is a risk. But some situations are more risky than others. So certainly anything that’s now indoors-where social distancing can’t be maintained-is more risky than if you are outdoors and you can maintain six feet.”

Dzirasa strongly urged city residents to get a flu shot this year.

“This year is the most important year ever to really get your flu shot. I know that are a lot of concerns. But it’s better to be safe than sorry. Getting your flu shot this year is particularly important as we think about the fact that the symptoms of flu and COVID tend to overlap.”

There are 137,236 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland as of Wednesday morning, according to the state’s Department of Health, and 3,912 people in Maryland have died from the virus. The state’s positivity rate is at 3.11%, which is better than that of most states in the country. Maryland has tested more than 3.1 million people for COVID-19.