Carroll County has lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency, effective immediately, as the number of cases and hospitalizations remain low and vaccinations among residents continue to rise.
The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to discontinue the state of emergency at their regular open session Thursday after Maggie Kunz, health planner for the Carroll County Health Department, provided a positive update regarding COVID-19 cases and vaccinations among residents.
“The data is looking really good this week,” she said. “I’m very cautiously optimistic here.”
Although the county’s positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, increased 0.64% since last week, it’s “still extremely low,” Kunz said.
In addition, she mentioned “the number of cases is going down significantly” and “hospitalizations continue to be at low levels for COVID.”
As far as vaccinations, Kunz said they’ve “cracked the 50,000 mark” for doses administered. In all, 55.2% of county residents have received one dose of the vaccine and 48.8% have received two doses or are fully vaccinated.
“I can’t believe the governor hasn’t gotten us out of that state of emergency,” Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said, pointing out Gov. Larry Hogan’s state of emergency has not yet been lifted in Maryland. “Everything seems to be getting back to normal.”
Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, said the county has up until now, “tailored” their decisions to match the state. “I think we can … comfortably make a decision and say we need to move forward on this.”
The local state of emergency, declared on March 14, 2020, allowed the board president to provide one voice in making decisions. Although the authority is given to the president, decisions were discussed and communicated to all commissioners, according to a county news release.
The process allowed for a more streamlined way to make decisions in the county regarding the rapidly evolving COVID-19 health crisis.
Earlier this week, the Anne Arundel County council voted 7-0 to end their COVID-19 emergency order, legislation which County Executive Steuart Pittman signed Wednesday. Anne Arundel appears to be the first to end its emergency order since the pandemic swept into Maryland back in March.