covid graphic

(July 31, 2020) Nine days ago, Worcester County had the highest positivity rate in Maryland at 7.26 percent, Gov. Larry Hogan said at a press conference Wednesday. It has now declined to 5.5 percent, a drop of more than 37 percent.   

According to the Worcester County Health Department, 50 cases have been confirmed since last Friday. 

This brings the county’s total cases since March to 518. There have been 18 deaths in the county from coronavirus, all of them at the Berlin Nursing Home.

Although most cases at the beginning of the pandemic involved the elderly and nursing homes residents, Hogan reported that 56 percent of new cases are Marylanders under the age of 40. While the positivity rate for Marylanders over age 35 have declined, the positivity rate of Marylanders under 35 has increased to 76.8 percent higher than people over 35. 

“We are concerned and are closely monitoring hospitalizations,” Hogan said. “We have seen a 28 percent increase over the past two weeks.”

He said that although the uptick in hospitalizations is mostly younger people who are not experiencing as severe symptoms, it remains concerning enough to pause starting phase three of re-opening until cleared by medical science. 

Hogan also praised the state’s expanded contact tracing efforts, which show that 44 percent of the people infected with the virus attended a family gathering, 23 percent were at a house party and 21 percent participated in an outdoor event. 

“For most of us, I think there’s a false sense of security when you’re spending time with family or friends, especially if you’re at home or you’re at a backyard BBQ. I’m guilty of this myself,” Hogan said. 

He added that contact tracing has also identified high-risk locations. Of those who have tested positive,  54 percent were going to work instead of working at home, 39 percent were shopping at retail stores, 23 percent dined outdoors at a restaurant and 23 percent dined inside at a restaurant. 

Hogan and the state health department also issued a public health advisory for travel to and from states with positivity rates of 10 percent or higher. He said these states are Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, Nebraska and Idaho. 

“This public health advisory applies to personal, family or business travel of any kind,” Hogan. “To the extent possible, we advise you to postpone or cancel travel to these areas until their positivity rates decline.”

He said if travel is a must, Marylanders should get tested immediately and self-quarantine while waiting for results. 

Last week, Maryland was added to New York’s list of states that must quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. This mandate is effective for entry into New Jersey and Connecticut as well. 

As of Thursday, the state had 87,177 cases. In this area, 222 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 166 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 45 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 73 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

A zip code must have at least eight cases to be listed.

A total of 377 people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 9,639 coronavirus tests.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were seven patients at Atlantic General Hospital with coronavirus – three in the intensive care unit, all of which are on a ventilator, and four in the med/surg unit, according to Toni Keiser, vice president of public relations. 

The hospital has cared for four patients who have come off a ventilator and has released 35 patients total with coronavirus. 

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 1,269 cases and Sussex County has 5,575 cases as of Wednesday.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, the state positivity rate was at 4.77 percent as of Wednesday, a slight increase from 4.56 percent last week.

There are three free testing sites at the health department location in Pocomoke City on Walnut Street, at the West Ocean City Park N’ Ride and the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street. The testing is for adults at least 18 years old. Those who want to get tested should bring ID. 

Testing is available for Worcester County residents only at the Pocomoke location on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The West Ocean City testing site is open Monday and Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

To schedule an appointment at these locations, call 410-632-1100, ext. 1119.

Drive-thru testing at the convention center will take place Friday, July 31 and Saturday, Aug. 1. Individuals must enter through Convention Center Drive. Call 410-632-1100 and select option eight to make an appointment.

According to the governor's office, additional testing weekends will be added for this site during August and September. 

To treat patients, Atlantic General is asking for plasma donations from coronavirus survivors. This is for a Mayo Clinic study through the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

The first patient transfusion took place on April 24. Donors must have tested positive for the virus and have been symptom-free for 28 days. Those who have been symptom-free for 14 days may also donate if they have tested negative.

When a case is confirmed positive, the health department conducts contact tracing to inform individuals and businesses that may have come into contact with the positive case.

If someone suspects they may have the virus, they should call their primary care provider or the health department. Do not show up unannounced to a medical facility.

The Worcester County Health Department has a hotline Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to determine if a person should be tested. Call 410-632-1100 and select option eight.

For general information on the coronavirus call the health department 24/7 at 410-632-4321 or visit worcesterhealth.org. View updates from Atlantic General at atlanticgeneral.org/patients-visitors/covid-19-updates/.

To track Maryland cases, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov/.

To report a restaurant or bar for not following safety guidelines, call environmental health at 410-352-3234. 

To donate plasma, go to delmarvablood.org/cpdonor or call 1-888-825-6638.

Coronavirus cases in Worcester County timeline:

March 19 – Worcester County confirms its first case of coronavirus, a man in his 30s.

March 21 – A woman in her 20s tests positive.

March 30 – A third positive case diagnosed out of state is confirmed.

April 1 – A woman in her 20s tests positive.

April 2 – A man in his 40s tests positive; health department releases three cases from public monitoring.

April 4 – A man in his 40s and a woman in her 60s test positive.

April 5 – A man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s test positive.

April 6 – A man in his 40s tests for a total of 10 positive cases in Worcester; four total cases have been released from public monitoring.

April 9 – Six more people test positive.

April 13 – Five more people test positive.

April 15 – An out-of-county resident tests positive.

April 16 – Three more people test positive for a total of 25 cases; nine individuals have been released from public monitoring.

April 20 – Worcester counts a total of 33 cases; 11 individuals have been released from public monitoring.

April 21 – One more person tests positive; 13 individuals have been released from public monitoring.

April 24 – Five more cases diagnosed; 18 cases have been released from monitoring.

April 25 – Two cases are diagnosed.

April 26 – Two cases are diagnosed for a total of 48.

April 27 – Five people test positive.

April 28 – One person tests positive; 23 cases have been released from monitoring; a woman in her 80s has died.

April 29 – Worcester has 55 confirmed cases.

April 30 – Six people test positive for a total of 61 cases; 26 cases have been released from monitoring; a second case dies.

May 3 – Worcester counts 75 cases; 29 have been released from monitoring; a third death is probable.

May 4 – Five more people are diagnosed.

May 5 – One more person is diagnosed; 40 have been released from monitoring.

May 6 – Five more cases are confirmed; three more people are released from monitoring.

May 7 – Ten more people are diagnosed for 96 total; 47 total have been released from monitoring.

May 8 – Two people are diagnosed; one is released from monitoring.

May 9 – Four people are diagnosed; three are released from monitoring; another death is recorded.

May 10 – Four people are diagnosed; one is released from monitoring.

May 11 – Seven people are diagnosed.

May 12 – One person is diagnosed.

May 13 – 11 people are diagnosed for a total of 125; eight people are released from monitoring.

May 14 – Two people are diagnosed; seven people are released from monitoring.

May 15 - Four people are diagnosed; four are released from monitoring.

May 17 - Six people are diagnosed; sixteen people are released from monitoring; six people total have died.

May 18 - 27 people are diagnosed for a total of 164; four people are released from monitoring.

May 19 - Two more people are released from monitoring.

May 20 – Five people are diagnosed; one more person is released from monitoring; eight people total have died.

May 21 – 12 more people are diagnosed for a total of 181; three more people are released from monitoring for a total of 96.

May 23 – Three people are released from monitoring.

May 24 – Three more people are diagnosed; two more people die for a total of 10 deaths.

May 25 – Two more people are diagnosed; one person dies for a total of 11 deaths.

May 26 – Eight more people are diagnosed; five more people are released from monitoring.

May 27 – Three more people are released from monitoring for a total of 107.

May 28 – Five more people are diagnosed for a total of 198.

May 29 - Eight more people are diagnosed; one more person dies for 13 total; nine more people have been released from monitoring.

May 30 - Four more people test positive; 27 people are released from monitoring.

May 31 - Four more people test positive; one more person is released from monitoring.

June 1 - Three more people test positive.

June 2 - Two more people test positive; Six more people are released from monitoring.

June 3 – One person is released from public monitoring.

June 4 – Four more people test positive for a total of 223; one more person dies for a total of 14; four more people are released from monitoring for a total of 152.

June 7 - Nine more people are diagnosed; six more people are released from monitoring; one more person dies for a total of 15.

June 8 - Three more people are diagnosed; Five more people are released from monitoring.

June 9 - Four more people are diagnosed.

June 10 - Three more people are diagnosed for a total of 243.

June 11 – Three more people are released from monitoring for a total of 171.

June 12 - Three more cases are confirmed; four more people are released from monitoring; one person dies for a total of 16.

June 13 - Seven more cases are confirmed; five more cases are released from monitoring. 

June 14 - Three more cases are confirmed; one more person dies for a total of 17.

June 15 - Two more cases are diagnosed; four more people are released from monitoring.

June 16 - Two more people are released from monitoring.

June 17 - Seven more cases for a total of 265; four more are released from monitoring for a total of 190.

June 18 – Two more cases for a total of 267; two more released for a total of 192.

June 21 - Four more cases are confirmed; six more are released.

June 22 - Seven more cases are confirmed; eight are released.

June 23 - Three more cases are confirmed; four more are released for 210.

June 24 - One more case is confirmed for 278.

June 26 - Four more cases for 282; six are released from monitoring for a total of 216.

June 28 - 10 people are released from monitoring.

June 29 - Four more cases are confirmed; 12 are released from monitoring.

July 1 - Three more cases for 289; three more released for 231.

July 2 – One more is released from recovery for a total of 232. 

July 3 - Two more cases are confirmed; two more are released from public monitoring. 

July 4 - One more case is confirmed; one is released from public monitoring. 

July 5 - Four more cases are confirmed; two more are released from public monitoring. 

July 6 - One more case is confirmed; three more are released from public monitoring. 

July 7 - Four more cases are confirmed; five are released from public monitoring. 

July 9 – Ten more cases are confirmed for a total of 311; four are released from public monitoring for 248. 

July 10 – Two people are released from public monitoring. 

July 11 – Three more cases are confirmed. 

July 13 – Eight cases are confirmed; 10 are released from public monitoring; one person dies for a total of 18. 

July 14 – 10 cases are confirmed; four are released from public monitoring. 

July 15 – Seven cases are confirmed for a total of 339; two are released from public monitoring for a total of 266. 

July 16 – 16 cases are confirmed for a total of 355; three are released from public monitoring for a total of 269. 

July 17 – 11 more cases are confirmed; four are released from public monitoring. 

July 20 – 52 more cases are confirmed; seven are released from public monitoring. 

July 21 – 11 more cases are confirmed; nine are released from public monitoring for a total of 289. 

July 22 – Seven more cases are confirmed for 435. 

July 23 – Five more cases are confirmed. 

July 24 – Twenty-eight cases are confirmed; 31 are released from public monitoring. 

July 27 – Thirty-eight cases are confirmed; 12 are released from public monitoring. 

July 28 – Thirty-five cases are released from public monitoring. 

July 29 – Two more cases are diagnosed. 

July 30 – Ten more cases are confirmed for a total of 518; ten more cases are released from public monitoring for a total of 377.  

Elizabeth covers Worcester County issues for Ocean City Today. In 2018, she graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa with a bachelor of arts. After graduation, Elizabeth spent a year with Lutheran Volunteer Corps in Wilmington, Delaware.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.