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Maryland county health officials ask governor to reimpose some restrictions

Maryland county health officials ask governor to reimpose some restrictions
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Several Maryland county health officials asked Gov. Larry Hogan (R) to reimpose some coronavirus restrictions in a Monday letter driven by the rise in coronavirus cases the state has seen in the past week.

The health officials from Maryland’s five largest counties and Baltimore city sent a letter that was obtained by The Baltimore Sun to Fran Phillips, a deputy health secretary. 

The officials from Baltimore city and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties asked for restrictions to be reinstituted on bars, restaurants and other businesses.

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“We are writing to share our concerns regarding the recent increase in daily cases across the state and impact of the virus over the past week,” the officials wrote, according to the Sun.

“This has been evidenced throughout many of our jurisdictions by increased daily case totals, increased rates of transmission and increasing Covid related hospitalizations and critical care usage,” the letter adds. “We are writing to ask that the state take action to curb these trends."

The local health officials noted that they are “prepared to act quickly” but would “prefer for the state to take action to create a unified, standardized approach to address this resurgence of cases.”

Mike Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, told the Sun that “local leaders continue to have the flexibility to make those decisions as they see fit,” under Maryland’s reopening plan.

Ricci also said that “every day, whether the numbers tick up or down, we have talked to Marylanders about the importance of caution and vigilance, stressing face coverings, testing, and physical distancing.”

Hogan began loosening some coronavirus restrictions last month after the economy had been effectively shut down since March. But the governor last week called for stricter enforcement of bars and restaurants that are not following orders on social distancing and face masks.

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Maryland, which has recorded 78,685 COVID-19 cases and 3,252 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, has seen cases increase in July after weeks of declining numbers. The number of new confirmed cases on Sunday reached 925, the highest point in two months, according to the Sun.

But COVID-19 testing is more available now than earlier in the pandemic, the newspaper noted, with a record of 28,899 tests being processed on Sunday.

Other states in the U.S. are struggling to contain outbreaks of the virus, especially in Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. Several experts, including in Maryland, have found younger people in their 20s and 30s are disproportionately contracting the virus.