Montgomery County has extended its indoor mask mandate to at least the end of this month as coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations spike in the county.

The county council, acting as the board of health, on Tuesday unanimously approved keeping in place the mandate, which was originally approved in November and would have been lifted once the county had fully vaccinated 85% of its residents, WTOP reported.

Though the county’s vaccination rate is now 83%, the council elected to keep the mandate in place amid the recent surge of infections. However, the council amended its order to keep the mandate in place indefinitely, choosing instead to set an end date of Jan. 31.

The county’s case rate is now nearly 1,600 cases per 100,000 people, WTOP reported. By comparison, that rate was at 350 cases per 100,000 residents during last winter’s holiday surge.

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