FCC Vaccine Site File

In this April photo, a person gives a vaccine shot at Frederick Community College.

The latest surge of coronavirus cases continued in Frederick County through the weekend, with the community reporting 26 new cases on Monday — the highest daily total in the county since late April.

The county’s seven-day positivity rate sat at 3.88 percent, 0.65 of a percentage point higher than the state’s overall positivity rate. One month after Frederick Health Hospital marked a milestone by reporting it was treating zero coronavirus patients for the first time in more than a year, Frederick Health’s vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer Dr. Kathy Weishaar said Monday the hospital was currently treating seven patients for the virus.

The pattern seen in Frederick County is consistent with the spike in coronavirus cases across the country. Although cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain well below peak levels nationwide, there has been a four-fold increase in new cases per day over the last month, according to data from The New York Times. Experts have attributed huge surges of the disease in states such as Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Florida to the delta variant of the virus, which is estimated to be about 255 times more contagious than the original coronavirus strain and appears to cause more severe illnesses than previous variants.

Although Maryland doesn’t report the number of COVID-19 cases attributed to the delta variant by county, more than 65 percent of disease specimens sequenced that were collected from Frederick County residents are due to this strain, Frederick County Health Department spokesman Shawn Dennison wrote in an email Monday. The delta variant is now the predominant strain in the country, the state and regionally, he wrote.

Last week, the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention — concerned by new evidence about the variant’s circulation — released new guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated, recommending that they resume masking up in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission risk. The agency cited preliminary data, which suggests that fully vaccinated people who become infected with the delta variant can be infectious and spread the virus to others.

A slide presentation shared within the agency and reported on by The Washington Post on Thursday also revealed that the variant spreads as easily as chickenpox and appears to be more contagious than Ebola or the common cold.

Dennison noted it is expected that the CDC will expand its current recommendations this week to advise everyone to wear masks in all indoor public places, regardless of the level of transmission in their community.

The CDC’s recent announcement has prompted jurisdictions across the country — including Washington, D.C. — to reimplement indoor mask mandates. As of Monday, however, there was no additional state health department or county guidance regarding face coverings indoors or outdoors, Dennison wrote. Still, he added that everyone, including those living in Frederick County, can ease the impact of the delta variant by getting vaccinated and consider wearing masks indoors in all public places.

The rate of community transmission in the county was “moderate” on Monday, according to data from the CDC, but was on a trajectory to meet the “substantial” criteria this week, Dennison wrote. As of Monday, seven counties in the state had “substantial” levels of transmission, and Dorchester County had transmission levels classified as “high.”

Currently, 71.6 percent of people eligible to receive a shot are fully vaccinated in Frederick County. As of Monday, the county still ranked fourth in terms of its vaccinated population, coming behind Howard, Montgomery and Talbot. However, demand for the shots has slowed in recent weeks, with only 1,072 receiving their first shots last week.

In the past week, there’s been no more than one person in Frederick Health Hospital’s intensive care unit with a diagnosis of COVID-19, Dennison wrote. Weishaar attributed the hospital’s relatively low coronavirus inpatient numbers to increased vaccination rates and the continued use of safety measures limiting the spread of the disease.

The county has made great progress in terms of suppressing the spread of the disease, and the hospital wants to continue moving in the right direction, she wrote. Still, she added, the county is at a crossroads and the delta variant presents a new, added challenge, especially for those who have not been vaccinated. She encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, wash their hands and wear a mask.

The last time a death was reported in Frederick County due to the coronavirus was July 27. But regardless of the rate of hospitalizations and deaths, the county health department is always concerned about any surge in case numbers, Dennison wrote. The department’s goal is two-fold, he said: protecting the health of the county’s most vulnerable populations — including children, seniors, the immunocompromised and frontline workers — and protecting the county’s health care infrastructure.

“Every COVID-19 infection, hospitalized or not, has the potential to result in long COVID symptoms, in other words, prolonged and sometimes disabling conditions,” Dennison wrote, later adding, “Although our local healthcare infrastructure is intact and not in danger currently, we are still very worried about ensuring our most vulnerable populations stay health.”

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

(19) comments

petersamuel

The reporter writes that the delta variant "appears to cause more severe illnesses than previous variants." How is that consistent with hospitalizations and deaths remaining low. If cases are spiking while hospitalizations and deaths remain low then the variant appears to cause LESS severe illness, not more. Some people just can't miss the opportunity to scaremonger!

shiftless88

Um, no, many are now immunized. It is not rocket science.

MRS M

hi Peter......check out the data (and inpatient hospitalizations) coming out of Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama.........and get back to us, ok? And by the way....the epsilon virus is also headed our way, courtesy of the same 30% or so who are unreachable in terms of public health initiatives. (READ: Trump accolytes). Simply comprehend that the "great", "liberated" unvaccinated allow the virus to continue to grow rapidly........and thereby mutate, just a viruses are wont to do. . Sorry to "scaremonger" you, Pete. A pediatric immunologist I heard on NPR (where else?) stated 1 year ago that it would take the globe a full 5 years to rid itself of this scourge....for the reasons stated above.

petersamuel

MrsM; It's simply untrue that the delta variant is more virulent, as a scaremongers say. Despite many more cases (bad news) from greater transmissibility or infectiousness (bad news), hospitalizations have not risen sharply and deaths have stopped falling but have not risen significantly with the delta. And yes it will hang around for several years because some people won't get vaccinated. The good news also is that the disease is now almost entirely among the unvaccinated -- people who choose to take the risk. Breakthrough cases are very rare, so the vaccine is very effective and safe. So there's good news, and bad. I'm fed up with journalists and public officials who only want to talk about the bad news. Obsessing with the bad news is a sure way to spread unwarranted pessimism which will discourage people from getting vaccinated.

MRS M

Peter, Many will disagree with you that "It's simply untrue that the delta variant is more virulent"....including, now, the CDC and leading scientists and clinicians who have been tracking the growth of the variant(s). And surprisingly! even yourself! when you go on to state that there are " many more cases (bad news) from greater transmissibility or infectiousness (bad news)", though you somehow (conveniently) overlook the comcommitant rise in hospitalizations and ICU admissions, with a particular incidence in those .under 40-45, in the aforemnentioned States.. Perhaps you see the contradictions in your own statements? Odd............ but not terribly surprising. Rather than seeing this as "unwarranted pessimism", perhaps you might see the silver lining. Vaccinations are reported to be rising in those States now inundated with COVID positive patients seeking medical care and...low and behold.....Vaccinations!. But then, for some it takes a while to catch on to the science of the day and responsibilities of conscientious Citizenry....and let go of old, tired, selfish,and erroneous political points and gamesmanship.

shiftless88

And the unvaccinated people allow further variants to develop. We are fortunate that the vaccine seems effective against the delta. Next one maybe not.

WalkTheTown

"How is that consistent with hospitalizations and deaths remaining low." <-- hospitalizations and deaths are almost exclusively among the unvaccinated. The unvaccinated will allow the variant to propagate freely which will cause other variants. Because our area has a much higher vaccination rate than other regions which are filled with "reluctants", our wave will be smaller than theirs. However, it will also make breakthrough cases grow.

Dwasserba

“… everyone, including those living in Frederick County, can ease the impact of the delta variant by getting vaccinated and consider wearing masks indoors in all public places.” Can we just. 🙄

jth7100

Garacian, I guess you are not kidding, but your post explains the level of misunderstanding that got us all here. It took entirely too long to reach 70 % and that's an average for the entire country. The unbalanced levels of vaccinations across the US allowed to the virus to endure too long and allow variations to develop. All that has been proven so far is that ignorance and willful resistance to a working vaccine put all of us at risk unnecessarily.

Piedmontgardener

'and", not "hand".

Piedmontgardener

Time to mask up folks hand be thoughtful. Thanks to the idiots, here comes Delta.

Stuck in the Middle with You

I don't think it is fair to call Fauci and the CDC "idiots". I don't think they purposely lied when they said that if you get the vaccine you are safe from getting, and transmitting, Covid. The fact that we are over 70% vaccinated, and our numbers are "surging" (media loves that word), shows that vaccines have very little to do with controlling the spread. They may keep you out of the hospital, but that's about it. So call Fauci and CDC liars or spin doctors, but not idiots.

Greg F

By idiots I think he means anticaxxers and non mask wearing idiots..who won’t even mask their unvaccinated kids.

Greg F

Antivaxxers

Piedmontgardener

Trust me, I'm not living in the conspiracy laden soup bowl. But you do you, OK?

threecents

OPV, You are the Sean Connery caricature in the SNL Jeopardy skits. The rest of us are like the Alex Trebek character.

petersamuel

Fauci is an idiot. He has contradicted himself so many times he has destroyed his credibility. That is idiotic behavior. He is also playing silly word games saying he funded didn't fund research with coronavirus research at the Wuhan, China when he obviously did. The guy is thoroughly untrustworthy.

shiftless88

He has stayed consistent with the scientific understanding. That has changed so his guidance has changed. Again, not rocket science. Funny; you calling him an idiot. He is clearly substantially smarter than you.

petersamuel

Fauci is an idiot. He has contradicted himself so many times he has destroyed his credibility. That is idiotic behavior. He is also playing silly word games saying he didn't fund research with coronavirus research at the Wuhan, China when he obviously did. The guy is thoroughly untrustworthy. EDITED VERSION

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