covid

(Sept. 4, 2020) Gov. Larry Hogan praised Maryland’s coronavirus health metrics, but tempered them with words of caution for Labor Day weekend during a press conference on Tuesday. 

He said the statewide positivity rate is at 3.39 percent, a decline of more than 87 percent since the peak of the pandemic in April. 

Hospitalizations are down by more than 77 percent and intensive care units are down by 30 percent, according to Hogan. 

“We continue to be in better shape than the nation and most states across the country,” Hogan said. 

As for contact tracing, 41 percent of those who have been interviewed since mid-July have attended a family gathering and 19 percent attended a house party or outdoor event. 

“While we want everybody to enjoy the holiday weekend, we tend to feel safe when we’re around our family and friends,” Hogan said. “In fact, that’s when we let our guard down and we don’t do the things we do when we’re in stores and out in places where we’re actually being careful and following good advice.” 

He announced that Maryland will be one of the first states to launch Exposure Notifications Express, an app in collaboration with Apple and Google “that is designed to help public health officials more quickly provide notifications for residents about potential covid-19 exposure.”

As for Worcester County, 48 new cases were confirmed between last Friday and this Wednesday, according to the Worcester County Health Department. Numbers for Thursday were unavailable. 

Last week, 51 new cases were confirmed. 

This brings the county’s total cases since March to 842. 

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins University has reported a positivity rate of around four percent. Its Covid-19 Testing Insights Initiative relies on data from the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer tracking organization from The Atlantic. 

The Center for Disease Control recently stated that only six percent of coronavirus-related deaths have coronavirus listed as the sole cause of death, while the other 94 percent have other underlying health conditions also listed. 

There have been 24 coronavirus-related deaths in Worcester, with at least 18 of them at the Berlin Nursing Home. 

Attempts to reach the nursing home for comment since March have not been successful. 

As of Thursday, the state had 110,112 cases. 

In this area, 316 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 296 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 69 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 114 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

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

A total of 683 people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 16,900 coronavirus tests. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were three patients at Atlantic General Hospital with coronavirus, one in the med/surg unit and two in the intensive care unit, according to Toni Keiser, vice president of public relations. 

“So far, our caregivers have cared for six patients who came off a ventilator and are breathing on their own and we have discharged 51 patients with covid-19 who are on their way to recovery,” Keiser said. 

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 1,587 cases and Sussex County has 6,335 cases as of Wednesday.

Last week, the Center for Disease and Control released a statement that who are displaying covid-19 symptoms do not need to get tested, but the center has since walked back on that. 

The center now states that those who have come within six feet of someone who has tested positive can get tested, but that not everyone needs to. 

The health department has three free testing sites: Pocomoke City on Walnut Street, at the West Ocean City Park N’ Ride and at 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. Testing at the convention center will be on Sept. 4, 5, 11 and 12, all from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

To schedule an appointment in Pocomoke or West Ocean City, call 410-632-1100, ext. 1119.

To schedule an appointment at the Ocean City convention center, call 410-632-1100 and choose option eight. 

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.

**POSITIVITY RATE:

According to the Maryland Department of Health, the positivity rate is a seven-day rolling average of positive results from all tests.

Coronavirus cases in Worcester County Aug. 3 to Sept. 2 timeline:

Aug. 3 – 61 cases are confirmed; 47 cases are released from public monitoring; one person dies for a total of 19 deaths. 

Aug. 4 – 28 cases are confirmed for 639; 10 cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 5 – 17 cases are confirmed; 64 cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 6 –  Eight cases are confirmed for 664 total; eight cases are released from public monitoring for 506 total. 

Aug. 7 – 11 cases are confirmed; five cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 11 – 22 cases are confirmed; 35 cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 12 – Seven cases are confirmed for a total of 704; 15 cases are released from public monitoring for a total of 561. 

Aug. 17 – 27 cases are confirmed; 12 are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 18 – Five cases are confirmed; 23 are released from public monitoring; one person dies for a total of 20. 

Aug. 19 – One case is confirmed; five are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 20 – Six cases are confirmed for a total of 743; one is released from public monitoring for a total of 602; two people die for a total of 22. 

Aug. 24 – 19 more cases are confirmed; 19 cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 25 – Four more cases are confirmed; 12 cases are released from public monitoring. 

Aug. 26 – 19 more cases are confirmed; four cases are released from public monitoring; one person dies for a total of 23. 

Aug. 27 – Nine more cases are confirmed for a total of 794; seven cases are released from public monitoring for a total of 643. 

Aug. 31 - 14 more cases are confirmed; 25 more cases are released from public monitoring; two more people die for a total of 24 

Sept. 1 - 27 cases are confirmed; 9 cases are released from recovery. 

Sept. 2 - Seven cases are confirmed for 842; six cases are released from recovery for a total of 683. 

*Worcester’s first case was confirmed on March 19

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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