In a meeting called to discuss a possible mask requirement, the Frederick County Board of Health on Tuesday forwent talks of a mandate and instead voted to issue a release recommending that people wear masks in public indoor settings.

Wording for the release wasn’t finalized during the meeting, but an initial draft recommended that those older than 5 wear a face covering in public indoor spaces and acknowledged that businesses have the authority to enforce more stringent masking rules.

The release will be issued by the health board in conjunction with the county’s health department.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer described the recommendation as a way to “bridge the gap” between those opposed to a masking mandate and those concerned about the increasing level of virus transmission in the county, especially with the coming holiday season.

“People are going to be out on Frosty Friday and Small Business Saturday, shopping and trying to get into the spirit of the season,” Keegan-Ayer (D) said, “and they may be in stores that are more crowded than they’re used to and they haven’t been around that many numbers of people in the last year or so.”

If the county’s transmission level were to drop for seven consecutive days to a “moderate” level under CDC guidelines, the recommendation would be lifted without the need for action from the health board, which comprises county health officer Barbara Brookmyer, County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and the seven members of the County Council.

The health board’s recommendation resembles guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that jurisdictions advise their residents — regardless of vaccination status — to don a face covering while in public indoor settings when virus transmission reaches “substantial” levels in their communities.

The CDC defines this threshold as areas that have recorded 50 cases per 100,000 residents in a seven-day period. Frederick County’s COVID-19 transmission rate has long been considered “high.”

As of Tuesday, the county’s seven-day case rate was 139.5 per 100,000 residents, according to CDC data.

In previous health board meetings, Councilman Jerry Donald (D) was the most outspoken member in favor of the body using its authority to gauge public interest and determine a threshold for when to implement a mask mandate.

He had pitched two proposals for a county-wide mask mandate before Tuesday’s meeting, one that would take effect at a specific positivity rate and another when a certain number of COVID patients were admitted to Frederick Health Hospital.

During the meeting, however, he acknowledged that the board didn’t have the votes to pass a mandate.

During its last meeting in October, the board voted to re-convene before its next regularly scheduled session to discuss masking if coronavirus cases in the county reached a threshold of 20 per 100,000 residents.

The county reached this threshold on Nov. 15, when it recorded 20.14 cases per 100,000. Spread in the county stood at 21.30 cases per 100,000 residents as of Monday, the last day for which data was available.

The board is scheduled to meet again in May 2022.

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(17) comments

Dwasserba

“… the Frederick County Board of Health on Tuesday forwent talks of a mandate…” did anyone else look this up and find “forwent” is the past tense of “forego?”

bhall74

Show me one scientific study that demonstrate that wearing a non-surgical N95 mask, especially the cloth masks that most people wear, prevents the spread of the COVID-19 virus. There is no study that doesn't demonstrate that a cloth mask prevents the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If a cloth mask worked, then you would never know when someone near you farted because their underwear and outer clothing should prevent it...right? Everyone knows that it doesn't prevent the smell from getting out so why would you believe a cloth mask will do a better job with the COVID-19 virus? C'mon people, start thinking for yourself and stop letting elected, and unelected, people think for you.

marinick1

[smile][thumbup]bhall74 [thumbup]

threecents

Go to PubMed and find the papers. There are dozens. While N95s have very small pore size that can trap some viruses, they also work electrostatically and by catching viruses in tiny droplets. I expect that cloth masks mostly work by catching the droplets. Once a virus gets stuck to a surface, such as a mask, it is generally inactivate by the time it gets off.

jth7100

One study, or many, they are all over your head. You clearly have no concept of viral particle measurements versus molecular dimensions. I concede you know what a fart is based on your screed, but any idea of those gaseous dimensions? Can you compare it to a COVID diameter? And add that the COVID transmission is based on attachment to droplets which magnifies that size. We get it, you're stupid; no need to put it on a billboard.

Hayduke2

Dude, you are the reason this pandemic won't go away. Wear the damned mask, get vaccinated and move on. BTW, the CDC are professionals and I will take there guidance and expertise over you any day of the week. Science can be your friend!

Hayduke2

As an aside, your reference to passing gas is straight out of fifth grade.

Smoleys

Like many other people, I am bewildered that no lawmaker deems it important that we wear masks that are tested to filter out coronavirus and are fitted to ensure that they do not leak. FCHD schedules drive-through child safety seat checks to make sure that we are using the correct seat and know how to install it correctly, but sadly, they don’t have any similar concern about keeping kids safe when it comes to masks.

Masks need to efficiently filter out nano-size virus particles, need to be fitted to prevent leakage, need to be free of carcinogenic chemicals and loose fibers, and be made of a fabric that can be worn for extended periods but not promote bacteria growth. All while being breathable. This info is something that an ordinary non-technical county resident isn’t able to figure out because masks are not labeled. With masks being so very important, it seems odd that the county hasn’t used some of the stimulus funds to distribute safe and effective masks to the people.

The News-Post reporting portrays our lawmakers as if they are indifferent to the larger goal which is preventing avoidable excess deaths and disease. For example, when will they address enforcement of existing building codes that have long required outdoor ventilation air but by political pressure have been ignored? How about a report card on the progress made to date reducing risk factors such as BMI and Vitamin D levels? Since the pandemic started, how much progress has the county health department made in reducing the obesity rate, increasing vitamin D levels, and increasing staffing and capacity levels at the ICU? How about setting up outpatient treatment clinics to provide early care to keep people out of the hospital. Why isn’t the county reaching out to homeowners and renters to explain the pros and cons of running a humidifier to keep humidity levels above 40 or the effect of indoor temperature on viability of of virus?

We need a report card. FCHD, what progress have you made in the areas I listed?

Smoleys......FCHD is afraid to institute a mask mandate because of the dangerous polite white people....pretty sure they haven't given a 2nd or 3rd thought to anything you listed above. But I am.....and I would love to know if my masks are keeping me safe from the likes of Jim Jordon ???

threecents

Not true. While N95s are best, surgical masks and and cloth masks have been shown to provide significant protection. Also, most masks, including N95s, come in only one size, so it is not like there is a simple alternative if it does not fit.

threecents

Ugg, I hoped yesterday's reported huge increase in hospitalized Covid patients in FHH was a fluke, but it went up significantly again today. Trouble due to non-masking is already here, but people aren't even noticing it - much less doing something about it.

Remember yesterday when I said I didn't trust anyone that isn't wearing a mask in public? Well....now I do take everything Jim Jordon says or does with a huge grain of salt...for some reason I think's he being truthful about this:

Jim Jordan blasted after revealing he had COVID and didn’t inform the public

https://www.rawstory.com/jordan-cases/

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) made a stunning revelation Tuesday afternoon: he had contracted COVID-19, but appears to have not made any public disclosures of his health status. Jordan is both anti-vaxx and and anti-mask, and still refuses to reveal his vaccination status.

"I've had the virus, I don't talk about my health status with reporters," Congressman Jordan told a Spectrum News Capitol Hill reporter who had asked if he has been vaccinated since saying over the summer he had not been.

You'll never know the if psychopath sitting next to you.....has Covid and just coughed in your face.....it's because of people like Jim Jordon we need a mask mandate and it's also because of people like Jim Jordan that people are afraid to issue mask mandates...you and I are in what you call..between a rock and a hard place.

threecents

New study showed that natural infection is about 1/5th as effective at preventing future Covid infection, as compared to vaccination.

marinick1

So you're convinced that mask wearing is effective. I am not. Mask mandates are nothing but arbitrary illegal orders issued by the Left in the pursuit of power.

See why I don't trust people without masks??? I appreciate you helping to prove my point that people without masks in public are not to be trusted....you can so little about yourself and others...

jth7100

Your ignorance is not equivalent to knowledge.

threecents

My outlook is based on published experimental data and the opinions of experts who have studied masks and viruses. Your opinion is based on garbage that professional dividers spew at you. Stop eating their empty calories.

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