Frederick County’s Indoor Mask Requirement Could Be Lifted Soon

Health Officer says COVID-19 metrics are trending downward.

Frederick, Md. (KM) – The local COVID-19 statistics are trending downward, and could mean the end of Frederick County’s indoor mask mandate. That’s according to County Executive Jan Gardner who spoke at Thursday’s Board of Health meeting

The Board in December approved an indoor mask requirement when COVID-19 cases were increasing. But if the case rate dropped to 20 or less per 100,000 population, the mandate would end. Currently, the case rates is 38.97 per 100,000 population.

Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer said that could happen soon. “When we would be anticipated to reach the 20 per 100, 000 mark, and that’s next week,” she said.

County Executive Gardner said rescinding the mask requirement may not need a vote by the Board of Health. “I do expect the mask requirement to lift itself,” she said. “Some people had said that the metric we put in place was not achievable. But we’ve already seen some jurisdictions achieve it.”

Dr. Brookmyer said some of those jurisdictions are in mostly urban and suburban areas. “Other jurisdictions, especially those that are in the more metro areas, actually have a lower case rate per 100,000 than what we have in Frederick,” she said. “And Prince George’s is the first one to be under 20 per 100,000 for the seven-day rolling average.”

Washington County, says Dr. Brookmyer, is 60 COVID cases per 100,000 and Allegany County is the highest at 102 cases per 100,000 population.

Gardner noted that some neighboring counties had already dropped their mask mandates. “A number of people said ‘why have we not done this when some other of our neighbors, particularly our metropolitan neighbors have,'” she said. “Well, they had lower cases rates, and in some instances, their hospitals have already come off crisis standards of care.”

Frederick Health Hospital is currently operating under a crisis standard of care. That means the hospital will extend services to patients based  the highest need. This was adopted due to high volumes of COVID-19 cases and a shortage of staff.

Gardner said when the case rate drops to 20 or less per 100,000 population, citizens will be notified. through news releases sent out to the media and other local organizations.

By Kevin McManus