County Executive Pittman, Health Officer Dr. Kalyanaraman Urge Vaccinations, Boosters as Region Records First Omicron Variant Case

Last updated: May 16, 2022

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Result released by the Maryland Department of Health is the first instance of new variant recorded in Baltimore metro region

Annapolis, MD (December 3, 2021) After state health officials announced a recorded case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in the Baltimore metro region, County Executive Steuart Pittman and Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman urged residents to continue seeking out vaccinations and boosters to protect against the disease. 

“The Omicron variant is a new attack on our people by COVID-19, but the army we have built, within county government and our health care system, is battle-tested. The arsenal of weapons at our disposal is effective,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said. “My ask is that every one of us enlist. Please vaccinate, boost, mask, and test, and plead with the people you love to do the same. That’s how we will continue to save lives.”

Omicron is a new, recently-designated variant of concern. While scientists and public health officials continue to review data about the new variant, early reports indicate it may transmit more easily from person to person. It also may cause people to get reinfected more easily after recovering from COVID-19.

“The good news is that we know what we need to do to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant. It’s the same as what we do now. Get vaccinated, wear your mask in public settings, and get tested if you have symptoms,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said.

Much is still unknown about the new variant, including how effective the current vaccines will be against the variant, whether it causes more severe disease, and how much easier it is to transmit. To protect against the Omicron variant, the Anne Arundel Department of Health recommends the following:

Vaccinations

  • Everyone ages 5 and older is eligible and should get vaccinated.  Vaccines are safe, free and effective.  
  • All vaccinated adults 18 and over should get a booster shot as soon as they are eligible. For people who received 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna, get a booster 6 months after your second dose. For people who got Johnson and Johnson, get a booter 2 months after your one dose.
  • To find a vaccination provider near you, please visit, https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine. For a list of Anne Arundel County Department of Health booster clinics, please visit, https://aacounty.org/covidvax/third-dose/index.html 

Masking 

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings regardless of your vaccination status. 
  • Make sure that your mask is worn consistently and correctly covering the mouth and nose.
  • Medical grade masks provide better protection than cloth masks or face coverings. 

Testing

  • Get tested if you aren’t feeling well or have been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and isolate if you are positive. PCR testing is available at various locations throughout the county.  Please visit, http://staging.aahealth.org/covid19-testing/ for more information on testing locations and to register.  
  • At-home rapid test kits are available at all branches of the Anne Arundel County Public Libraries 

Physical Distancing 

  • Stay home when you are sick and limit your interactions with others. 
  • Avoid large crowds and  poorly ventilated areas. 
  • Limit the number of households or people outside of your social bubble gathering together. Encourage guests to get vaccinated or tested before attending and stay home if they aren’t feeling well. Consider outdoor gatherings or highly ventilated areas. 
  • Physical distancing of 6 feet or more in public settings or when gathered with people outside of your household. 

Hand Hygiene

  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially when interacting with the public or people outside of your household. 

Businesses

  • Implement a “Vaccination or Testing” requirement for businesses or events where people are unmasked.
  • Require masking in indoor public settings.
  • Provide masks in all areas where the public is present.
  • Improve ventilation in indoors spaces
  • Incentivize or require vaccination of employees

For information on upcoming vaccination and booster appointments visit www.aacounty.org/covidvax.

 

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