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(Oct. 30, 2020) Gov. Larry Hogan praised Maryland’s coronavirus health metrics during a press conference last Thursday, but issued a warning about “covid fatigue” as many states across the country are experiencing a spike in cases and hospitalizations.

He said Maryland is one of eight states to have low cases.

Though cases are still low, Hogan said there has been a slight uptick in hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

Overall, Maryland hospitalization numbers have decreased 73 percent since a peak of 1,711 and an 80 percent decline in intensive care unit levels since its peak on May 10.

“Our first goal every day is to save the lives of Marylanders, and according to the CDC, Maryland currently has one of the lowest death rates in the country,” Hogan said.

The state has had about .7 deaths per 100,000 cases, which Hogan said is among the lowest in the nation.

He added that though Maryland has made good progress, the virus does not recognize state borders.

“While Maryland is continuing to make steady progress in eliminating the spread of the virus, the spiking numbers in other states, both in our region and across the nation and concerning,” Hogan said. “They are an important reminder that this crisis is far from over.”

He added that social gatherings are still the most likely source of transmissions, according to contact tracing data. The number one common activity of those who test positive are family gatherings, followed by house parties and outdoor events.

“We should remain vigilant, even when we are in close contact with the people that we know and love,” Hogan said.

He encouraged Marylanders to continue to avoid coronavirus hot spots, to wear a mask, to maintain physical distance, to take activities outdoors and to wash hands.

“I know there is covid fatigue and tremendous frustration that this pandemic is continuing to disrupt our daily lives and I know that many people are experiencing a great deal of hardship and stress,” Hogan said. “This has been a very long and difficult year for all of us, but the only way that we can continue to make progress is by all of us doing our part and looking out for one another.”

As of Tuesday, Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate was at 3.36 percent, not far off from 3.11 percent, nearly the same as last week.

Worcester County’s positivity rate sits at 3.41 percent.

On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University reported the state positivity rate at 2.64 percent. Its testing relies on data from the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer tracking organization from The Atlantic magazine. This differs from the health department positivity rate because Johns Hopkins eliminates duplicate tests.

Since last Friday, at least 35 new cases have been confirmed in the county, according to the Worcester County Health Department. Last week, 35 new cases were confirmed.

This brings the county’s total cases since March to 1,220 as of Thursday.

There have been 31 coronavirus-related deaths in Worcester, with 18 of them at the Berlin Nursing Home.

As of Thursday, the state had 143,387 cases. In this area, 444 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 385 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 121 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 185 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

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

A total of 1,079 people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 28,362 coronavirus tests.

As of Wednesday afternoon, four patients with coronavirus were in Atlantic General Hospital’s medical/surgical unit, according to Toni Keiser, vice president of public relations at the hospital.

Hospital staff have cared for six patients who have come off a ventilator. Atlantic General has discharged 70 patients with coronavirus who are recovering.

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 2,519 cases, and Sussex County in Delaware has 7,925 cases as of Wednesday.

The county health department has two free testing sites: Pocomoke City on Walnut Street and the West Ocean City Park N’ Ride. The testing is for adults at least 18 years old and ID is required.

The Ocean City convention center on 40th Street had testing in the second half of the summer and there are no concrete plans to hold more at that location.

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 in Pocomoke or West Ocean City, call 410-632-1100, ext. 1119.

People who suspect they may have the virus should call their primary care providers or the health department.

The Worcester County Health Department has a hotline Monday through Friday from 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.

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.

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