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(Oct. 9, 2020) Maryland has reached several new milestones in the fight against the coronavirus, as Gov. Larry Hogan announced that indoor visits may be permitted in certain nursing homes effective last Thursday.

During a press conference last Thursday, Hogan said that nursing homes that are not experiencing an outbreak or have not had a new coronavirus case in the last 14 days may resume indoor visits.

Outdoor visits were permitted in June.

Our new state efforts allows for more flexibility for compassion care visits, to support residents who need emotional and spiritual support,” Hogan said.

He added that by the end of this week, all 227 nursing homes should start receiving the first allocation of rapid antigen tests that his administration secured through an interstate compact.

The state will also commit an additional $6 million for testing nursing home staff.

As for other statistics, Maryland was at a statewide positivity rate of 2.88 percent last Thursday, a 90 percent decline since April 17.

As of Wednesday, that rate has slightly increased to 2.9 percent, while Worcester County’s positivity rate sits at 3.98 percent, an increase from 2.74 percent last week.

On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins University reported the state positivity rate at 6 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, 53 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 1,112.

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

As of Thursday, the state had 29,4251 cases. In this area, 395 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 360 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 115 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 172 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

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

A total of 947 people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 24,380 coronavirus tests.

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

Hospital staff have cared for six patients who have come off a ventilator. Atlantic General has discharged 65 patients with coronavirus who are recovering.

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 2,157 cases and Sussex County in Delaware has 7,066 cases as of Wednesday.

The county health department has two free testing sites: Pocomoke City on Walnut Street and at 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 has not yet determined if there will be future testing dates.

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.

Persons 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 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.

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.

(1) comment

GatorBall

There should be a note here..... no Worcester County facilities fall under this good news. The lack of any actual news on Delmarva means no one really knows how much trouble the nursing homes here are in. Here's a clue though - they are in huge trouble, their employees can't keep bringing the virus to work and they are not prepared to isolate people still.

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