Gov. Larry Hogan

(Oct. 23, 2020) Gov. Larry Hogan announced a draft of Maryland’s covid-19 mass vaccination plan on Tuesday, which he submitted to the Center for Disease and Control last week. 

“In anticipation of a covid-19 vaccine, Maryland stands ready to order, distribute and administer it effectively and rapidly as soon as a vaccine becomes available,” Hogan said. 

The plan consists of two phases – the first to vaccinate those at high risk and those in critical industries. These are frontline first responders and health care staff working with covid-19 patients, residents and staff of nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living facilities, and public safety, education and staff in congregate living facilities. 

Phase two will be to vaccinate the general public, which will depend on CDC and state approval, as well as phase one progress. 

The Maryland Health Department is recruiting health care providers, local health departments, employee occupational health providers and pharmacists in Maryland’s Vaccine Program Immunization System to make sure local vaccine needs are met. 

Marylanders will have multiple reminder options for the second dose of the vaccine, which will be required 21 or 28 days after the first dose. 

Hogan also spent his Monday on the Eastern Shore, his first stop being Atlantic General Hospital to speak with health care workers.

“Our state owes them — and all of our doctors, nurses, and other health care providers — an immense debt of gratitude,” Hogan said. 

As of Tuesday, Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate was at 3.11 percent, nearly the same as last week.

Worcester County’s positivity rate sits at 3.62 percent, a slight increase from 2.69 percent last week. 

On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University reported the state positivity rate at 2.4 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, 35 new cases have been confirmed in the county, according to the Worcester County Health Department. Last week, 31 new cases were confirmed.

This brings the county’s total cases since March to 1,185 as of Wednesday.

There have been 30 coronavirus-related deaths in Worcester, with 18 of them at the Berlin Nursing Home.

As of Thursday, the state had 137,979 cases. In this area, 429 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 379 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 118 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 182 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

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

A total of 1,042  people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 26,992  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 69 patients with coronavirus who are recovering.

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 2,397 cases, and Sussex County in Delaware has 7,609 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.

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.

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 View updates from Atlantic General at

To track Maryland cases, visit

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

To donate plasma, go to 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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