Citing concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the rising numbers in the city and surrounding areas, Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor announced Wednesday that the city’s state of emergency will remain in place until vaccination rates increase or transmission rates decline.

O’Connor said he plans to keep the state of emergency in effect until 70 percent of the city’s residents are fully vaccinated or the city returns to a low transmission rate as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“While I know we all wish and want this pandemic to simply go away, the reality is that we are in the mist of another spike,” O’Connor said.

Frederick County’s seven-day rolling positivity rate as of Wednesday was 6.73 percent, well above the state rate of 4.93 percent

The county has 21,213 confirmed cases, an increase of 62 cases from the day before, according to information from the Frederick County Health Department.

There were 30 people hospitalized in the county, including seven in intensive care.

Frederick County has had 340 confirmed deaths from the virus.

As of Wednesday, 151,773 county residents had gotten their first dose of the vaccine, including 201 in the past 24 hours, as well as 140,120 with two doses and 16,559 who’ve gotten the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Altogether, 60 percent of Frederick’s total population is fully vaccinated.

The continuation of the emergency will mean further extensions of due dates for water bills and other bills, waiving of interest accruals and the extension of various licensing and certification renewals, among other things.

But the expiration of the state’s state of emergency on Aug. 15 will lead to some changes.

The city’s pop-up dining options, including parklets and expanded options for food trucks, will end on Sept. 14.

Meanwhile, a moratorium on rental increases will end in mid-February 2022, while the extension of several planning and permitting approvals will end in August 2022.

O’Connor said masks and a health screening are required for employees and anyone else entering city facilities.

With the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine this week, O’Connor urged residents to get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so.

“We need more residents to wear masks, and we need more residents and employees to get vaccinated,” O’Connor said. “It really is that simple. That is the answer to the pandemic.”

But there are no plans to require city employees to get vaccinated, city spokeswoman Ashley Waters said Wednesday.

O’Connor said that early in the pandemic no one thought they would be here in August 2021.

“When the Board of Aldermen voted last April to extend the city’s state of emergency without limit, my pledge at the time was that I would look at what and how the state was doing and was unlikely to deviate substantially,” O’Connor said. “At the time, my hope was that it would be obvious, when the emergency declaration was lifted, that the pandemic was in the past. Though the worst likely is, Frederick County is at a high transmission level right now, as is much of the state.”

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(18) comments

Dwasserba

“…the reality is that we are in the mist of another spike,’ O’Connor said.” Did he really say “mist”? 🤔

C.D.Reid

Did he really say “mist," or is it a simply a typo by the writer in the form of leaving out a "d?"

WalkTheTown

Why would we let the additional permissions for pop-up dining, parklets and food trucks expire, especially at a time like this? This makes no sense. At the same time, not requiring people to get vaccinated just invites the mayhem to continue.

fnpreader123

Not gonna happen, especially with boosters about to be required every 6 months. Move on.

Nicki

[thumbup] walk!

mcrider

The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

…. NOT !!

mgoose806

Governor Hogan (R) cancelled State of Emergency 8/15. Mayor O’Connor(D) determined what he thought best for his political future to leave it place. Gives him front page press that he is “leading” He is doing nothing more then campaigning

matthewboh

Mayor DoNothing is getting ready for the primary! Speaking of primaries, you would never now anything is happening by reading this excuse of a newspaper. Not a single item in this sorry excuse for news.

AOC

So true both on the mayor and FNP. Which is exactly why I commented on today's worthless online poll asking: "Who is your favorite superhero?"

AOC Aug 26, 2021 9:40am

My pick would be Hunter Biden's half brother Mayor Michael O'Connor.

fnpreader123

They didn't even cover the mayoral debate this summer.

Dwasserba

*As if* Hogan cares not about “a political future.” Your mindreading skills are selective.

Dwasserba

https://www.fredericknewspost.com/public/ap/multiple-members-of-gov-hogan-s-staff-test-positive-for-covid/article_939667e8-90e6-55d0-b30a-47186cfcfb02.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share

lewisantq

What an opportunity for the city government. Without public meetings they can pass more legislation without the knowledge of the citizens. Bob Lewis

Piedmontgardener

Bob., this was pro forma. you want to argue about the open meeting conversation with this rise in cases? Speaking of stand on ceremony.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] Bob Lewis. [thumbup]

marinick1

"“We need more residents to wear masks..." The Mayor was NOT wearing a mask last Sunday at the concert in the park. Typical "do as I say..."

Dwasserba

Was the park…outdoors?

public-redux

Frederick has outdoor parks now? Well, aren’t we high-falutin’

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