Concerns Rise Over Fourth Wave as Maryland Cases Surge

The rise in cases threatens the vaccination efforts throughout the state

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Maryland’s coronavirus positivity rate has more than doubled, growing fears of a fourth wave even as more residents get vaccinated.

Some Montgomery County leaders are considering a rollback in the reopening process.

“Everything is going in the wrong direction,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, who called the surge predictable during his visit to the new vaccination site in Germantown.

The uptick in cases can be attributed to the ongoing spread of COVID-19 variants, according to Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles.

“We also have seen increases in our hospitalizations, both in terms of a few hospitalizations, as well as now we’re starting to see an upward trend in intensive care hospitalizations across the state,” Gayles said.

The concerns put a damper on Wednesday’s opening of the soon-to-be state mass vaccination site at Montgomery College.

Hundreds of residents, including Angela Catanzano, got the opportunity to get a vaccine much closer to home.

The vaccinated population in D.C. may be overestimated in this map because some non-residents who work in D.C. are included in the totals.

“The line was a bit long, and that felt uncomfortable at first, but once it kind of kept moving, you were in and out very quickly,” Catanzano said.

The amount of doses coming into the county has doubled to a little more than 10,000 per week. Beginning Wednesday, all Montgomery County residents are eligible to register. Health officials predict a majority of the county’s residents will be vaccinated in the next two months.

But for all the progress, health officials are still considering a rollback in reopening the state.

“Restrictions in Montgomery County are still more restrictive than the state, and I think there does need to be consideration from the state level to consider walking back state provisions,” Gayles said.

Elrich also hopes the state will consider adding more restrictions.

“I’m not going to change my view of things,” Elrich said. “I wish the governor would think about, if these numbers are going wrong, why not walk it back? I would walk it back.”

With Passover and Easter weekend approaching, health officials are worried about the virus spreading. Elrich also hopes the state will consider adding more restrictions.

Health experts suggest residents should forego family gatherings for Easter and Passover unless they’ve been fully vaccinated.

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