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Baltimore cancels activities at some senior centers due to rising COVID-19 cases

Baltimore has shut down in-person activities at city-operated senior centers due to the worrying rise in COVID-19 cases, effective Tuesday. Privately run senior centers aren’t impacted, officials said.

It comes as hospitalizations from COVID-19 in the state reach dizzying heights. More than 3,000 people were hospitalized with the virus as of Tuesday morning, far more than during any other wave of the pandemic. Over roughly the past month, 1 in 25 Marylanders has tested positive for the virus.

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Sandtown-Winchester Senior Center is one of seven center closed by Baltimore due to rising covid-19 cases.
Sandtown-Winchester Senior Center is one of seven center closed by Baltimore due to rising covid-19 cases. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

The majority of the virus’s victims in Maryland — 67% — have been 70 or older. And data shows Baltimore is experiencing one of the worst transmission rates in the state — about 252 cases per 100,000 people — although rates are elevated across Maryland.

With senior centers closed, the city’s Department of Aging Services will continue to provide services over the phone where possible, and offer to-go meals at senior centers. They will be first come, first served. The department asks residents to call their senior center to check on availability.

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Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a new state-of-emergency in light of the coronavirus crisis, and executive orders establishing new testing sites, calling up the National Guard to staff them and allowing retired and out-of-state medical workers to practice in Maryland. He stopped short, however, of issuing a new mask mandate for the state, or requiring vaccinations in certain settings. Experts said that both could help slow the rapid spread of the virus’s omicron variant.

Baltimore is one of many jurisdictions in the state that have instituted their own mask mandate. Mayor Brandon Scott has said he’s considering a “vaccine passport” requirement alongside other local leaders.

Here are the senior centers affected by Tuesday’s announcement, according to the city health department:

  • Waxter Senior Center 1000 Cathedral St., (410) 396-1324
  • Oliver Center Senior Center 1700 Gay St., Ste B, (410) 396-3861
  • Hatton Senior Center 2825 Fait Ave., (410) 396-9025
  • Harford Senior Center 4920 Harford Rd., (410) 426-4009
  • Sandtown Winchester Senior Center 1601 Baker St., (410) 396-7725
  • Zeta Center for Healthy and Active Aging 4501 Reisterstown Rd. (410) 396-3535
  • Cherry Hill Senior Center at the Rowing Center, 3301 Waterview Ave., (410) 396-2920
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