ROCKVILLE, Md. — Montgomery County’s mask mandate took effect at midnight Friday night. Some residents say it should never have been canceled in the first place. The previous mask mandate ended less than a month ago.
The county doesn't need to tell Silver Spring resident Robert Zagorski to wear a mask. He's been wearing one since he spent 51 days hospitalized for COVID-19.
"I was laid up in the hospital," he said. "Almost died. So I was on the ventilator 14 days and survived. It's important that people protect themselves so you don’t end up in my situation."
Zagorski was thankful to be eating breakfast with his family Saturday morning at Silver Diner in Rockville, shortly after the mandate took effect. It was triggered by a transmission rate of "substantial," defined as 50 cases per 100,000, lasting for seven days.
The 44-year-old caught COVID from a friend last Christmas and entered Holy Cross Hospital in early January.
"When I drove myself to the emergency room I only had 60 percent oxygen levels," Zagorski said. "And then when I woke up, I had fast heart rate and I couldn’t walk, it was like being a baby again. All my limbs and all my muscles were numb, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t hold a cup of water, so I had to go to a lot of rehab just to get back to normal."
The county's mandate could be repealed again if transmission rates decrease, or if the vaccination rate rises to 85%. It's currently at 78%.