BEL AIR — Last week, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman took action in response to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Harford County and statewide.

Effective at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13 the county government reactivated its pandemic response from earlier this year, which will remain in effect until metrics improve, including the following:

All county facilities will be closed to the public. Drop boxes for documents and payments will be reactivated at the county administration building at 220 S. Main Street in Bel Air.

All indoor parks & recreation facilities and programming will be suspended. Selected programming has been moved online at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/2822/At-Home-with-Parks-Recreation.

Organized outdoor activities on county fields, including tournaments, are also suspended. County parks will remain open with social distancing requirements in place.

Following the governor’s advisory, county government employees who are authorized to telework will do so until further notice. This is to guard the county workforce while maintaining government services and operations. Harford County government will remain open for business.

Harford Transit will return to a modified service. Details will be posted at http://www.harfordcountymd.gov/213/Harford-Transit-LINK.

In addition, Glassman ordered 1,500 rapid COVID-19 tests to support a rapid response to potential cases in county government and allied agencies, including the Health Department, Harford County Public Schools, Volunteer Fire Companies and law enforcement.

Harford County’s positivity rate began to spike on October 31, and has risen above 7% for the first time since June. The county’s November 12 positivity rate was 7.36%, according to the Maryland COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Similarly, Harford’s seven-day moving average case rate per 100K people began a surge in late October. The case rate rose to 7.27 on October 30 and, within two weeks, rose to 25.28 on November 12.

Since March, both metrics have largely tracked or been below the state averages, but have now risen above.

As of press time, Harford County’s total cases are 4,959, with 84 deaths.

Although hospitalizations are a lagging indicator, Harford County hospitalizations reported by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health are at 28, with nine in critical care.

“Public safety is my top priority in responding to this recent surge and my long term goal is to keep our economy and government services open for business,” County Executive Glassman said. “I understand the inconvenience, but I believe these actions will put us in a stronger position with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Harford County and beyond. As the pandemic wears on and we head into colder weather, I also want to remind folks to continue handwashing, social distancing and wearing a mask when required. These three simple steps can save lives.”

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