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Pittman urges people to get vaccinated as delta spread continues

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Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman at a virtual press conference Tuesday. Credit: Livestream/County Executive Steuart Pittman

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman urged county residents to get vaccinated Tuesday, saying the delta variant is taking a toll on healthcare workers who’ve been “stretched to the limit” for months.

“I'm pleading publicly for people to set aside any politics related to this,” Pittman said at a virtual press conference.

As of Tuesday, the county’s COVID positivity rate is 5.46%, higher than the state’s overall positivity rate of 4.61%.

“I just hope that people will put themselves in the shoes of these health care workers and these employees who are being asked to do more than is humanly possible,” Pittman said.

County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said 14 people died from COVID-19 last week, the highest number of deaths in one week for the county since February.

He also noted that the Anne Arundel Medical Center is postponing elective surgeries due to a rise in COVID hospitalizations.

“That's why it's critical for people to get vaccinated. This — in terms of spread — is only going to get worse during cold and flu season,” Kalyanaraman said.

In an effort to boost vaccination rates, Pittman announced earlier this month that county employees will receive a one time payment of $1,000 if they get vaccinated by Nov. 30.

Last week, President Joe Biden announced that he is requiring all businesses with 100 or more employees to implement a vaccine mandate. Pittman and Kalyanaraman are set to discuss the president’s executive order Thursday morning with local chambers of commerce leaders.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.