covid

Worcester’s test results had been worst, but subsided

(Sept. 11, 2020) Not for the first time, Worcester County has recently recorded the highest positivity rate for coronavirus cases of all Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions. 

On Sunday, Sept. 6, Worcester had a seven-day positivity rate of 7.58 percent, more than double the state’s rate of 3.63 percent at that same time. 

As of Wednesday, Worcester’s rate had dropped to 5.78 percent, which is the second-highest rate in Maryland behind Caroline County. The state rate has increased slightly to 3.7 percent.  

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

This differs from the health department positivity rate because Johns Hopkins eliminates duplicate tests. 

This week, 64 new cases were confirmed in the county, according to the Worcester County Health Department. Last week, at least 48 new cases were confirmed. 

This brings the county’s total cases since March to 906. 

There have been 26 coronavirus-related deaths in Worcester, with at least 18 of them at the Berlin Nursing Home. 

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

As of Thursday, the state had 114,078 cases. In this area, 338 cases have now been reported in the Berlin and Ocean Pines 21811 zip code area, 303 cases were listed for the Ocean City 21842 zip code, 73 in the Snow Hill 21863 zip code and 131 in the Pocomoke City 21851 zip code.

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

A total of 759 people have been released from public monitoring. Worcester has conducted 17,725 coronavirus tests. 

As of Wednesday afternoon, there were four patients at Atlantic General Hospital with coronavirus, all of whom are in the med/surg unit, according to Toni Keiser, vice president of public relations. There is also one patient suspected of having coronavirus. 

“So far, our caregivers have cared for six patients who came off a ventilator and are breathing on their own and we have discharged 52 patients with covid-19 who are on their way to recovery,” Keiser said. 

As of Thursday, next door Wicomico had 1,683 cases and Sussex County in Delaware has 6,432 cases as of Wednesday.

Two weeks ago, the Center for Disease and Control issued a statement that said people who are displaying covid-19 symptoms do not need to get tested, but the center has since walked back on that, now stating that those who have come within six feet of someone who has tested positive can get tested, but that not everyone needs to. 

The county 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. 11 and 12 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. 10 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. 

Sept. 4 - 30 more cases are confirmed 16 cases are released from recovery; two people die for a total of 26. 

Sept. 8 - 25 cases are confirmed; 81 cases are released from recovery  

Sept. 9 - Two cases are confirmed for 899; six cases are released from recovery.. 

Sept. 10 – Seven cases are confirmed for a total of 906; three cases are released from recovery for a total of 759.  

*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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