COVID EMergency

In this Dec. 7, 2020, photo, a temporary sign directs patients headed to the emergency department entrance at Frederick Health Hospital as construction has disrupted the normal flow of traffic. 

When Lily Chalkey returned to Frederick County after a semester at college, it was a bit of a culture shock. At her small college, she was subjected to many rules and regulations to protect the students. Over the course of the few months she was on campus, there were only nine positive coronavirus cases.

Returning home to Frederick and seeing the cases spike made her consider why there weren’t more stringent regulations in place, besides some capacity limits at certain businesses.

“That’s definitely on the scarier side,” she said of the soaring case numbers as she walked along Carroll Creek Monday.

Over the weekend, Frederick County reported 51 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, its highest number yet, surpassing a day in November when there were 41. Frederick Health Hospital has 239 total beds, meaning it was using 21 percent of its beds for COVID patients this weekend.

Hospitalizations were down slightly, with the Frederick County Health Department reporting 46 hospitalizations on Monday. It also reported 133 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 7,852.

Frederick County has averaged 140 new cases of COVID-19 per day during the first week of December. Meanwhile, the average number of new cases per day during the month of November was 67.

“We are seeing so many cases now that it seems like every business is dealing with an employee or customer who’s tested positive for COVID-19,” Dr. Barbara Brookmyer wrote in an email. “More and more people probably know someone who’s tested positive personally.”

The local spike coincides with the nationwide surge of coronavirus cases. Maryland reported 2,302 new cases on Monday and 20 deaths. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has instituted some rules in the last month, including cutting restaurant capacity from 75 to 50 percent and enforcing a 10 p.m. shutdown for bars and eateries. There is also still a statewide mask mandate, unlike many other states.

Chalkey wonders why the local and federal governments are not doing more now that the virus is surging again. She said she felt that everything shut down in the spring, but now everybody is trying to hold onto what “normal” they have.

The Frederick County Health Board did institute new changes, including fines for not complying with rules and a 25-person limit on events. But those changes also stated that Brookmyer could enforce more rules once the county surpassed 20 infections for every 100,000 people over a seven-day rolling period. But that language was deleted by a Board of Health vote on Nov. 24.

The county is now reporting 52 cases per 100,000 people.

Brookmyer said that she has no plans on enacting new restrictions.

“We are currently working on making sure our community is aware of and following the regulations that are in place,” she wrote.

Many people are still against new measures, as evidenced by the dozens of community members who spoke out against more restrictions at that Nov. 24 meeting.

Brookmyer continued to stress the importance of social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing.

“It’s becoming more apparent every day just how much virus is circulating in our community, so I hope everyone is taking the situation seriously as some of the people who become infected will experience complications,” Brookmyer wrote. “And it is not always predictable who will experience complications in the short term or the long term.”

Tom Sweitzer knows how difficult those complications can be. Sweitzer, who was visiting Frederick on Monday from Middleburg, Virginia, said he was hospitalized by the coronavirus in July.

He said he occasionally goes out to eat and sees a pod of about seven people. Sweitzer said he’s careful with regards to the virus, but with the numbers rising in both Maryland and Virginia, he’s concerned “more now than ever before.”

Brookmyer said this holiday season might look different from others, but it’s important to remain vigilant.

“With the holidays coming up, it would be best for people not to travel or gather with people outside their households,” she wrote. “It’s a sacrifice of our traditions, but it could save lives.”

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(26) comments


Cite your reference jloo and also I posted some "science" you probably will like.



Not wearing a mask is a Badge of Honor to these dimwits. A minor inconvenience that saves lives and a slap in the face to the Health Care workers who are working around the clock, exposing themselves and their families to this disease. But that is the ignorance that Trump has brainwashed them with. It is impossible to comprehend that so many grown people are actually dumb enough to believe what comes out of this maniacs mouth.

jloo is the science. "A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%). The between-group difference was −0.3 percentage point (95% CI, −1.2 to 0.4 percentage point; P = 0.38) (odds ratio, 0.82 [CI, 0.54 to 1.23]; P = 0.33)."

Translation: 42 (1.8%) mask wearers became infected while 51 (2.1%) non-mask wearers became infected. The difference of.3% is statistically insignificant. Wear a mask, don't wear a mask, doesn't make much difference. It's the science folks, the science!!


Jloo - do you not understand that you wear a mask primarily to PROTECT OTHERS?

It only secondarily protects you. Please keep your possibly infected exhalations to yourself. Got it?


Um..sevenstones, the SCIENCE clearly indicates that wearing a mask does not provide statistically relevant protection for anyone. but hey, you don't understand the science.


Seven is correct that that study does not indicate whether or not you protect others by wearing masks. There are other studies that show masks do protect both the wearer and others are protected by masks. Google it or go on PubMed, and you will find a bunch. Most of the science shows masks have been effective at limiting the spread of the virus.


Jloo is simply a ignorant spreader.

The whole world is trying to fight this virus 🦠. Look, the US with 4 % of the world’s population has 20% of the fatalities, the most on the globe. 288,000 deaths and counting. The Trump run CDC is forecasting 20,000 more deaths by Christmas. I would think common sense would bet on wearing a mask even if you’re not inclined to believe it. But some are determined to be stupid. Jloo, don’t wear a mask 😷. And if I see you without the mask I’ll know it’s you. You’ll stand out as the stupid ‘one’.


I'd be interested in the source of your information jloo.


Obviously this is fake news because the Trump worshippers told us that this virus would magically disappear the day after the election. Where are they now. Hello?


Where are the people who were saying: "First it's up and then it's down and then it's up". It is definitely up again and current trends don't look very good.


.'“And it is not always predictable who will experience complications in the short term or the long term.”' And there you have it. Activate the app. One more tool.


I only go two places these days - to the grocery store and to Baker Park for a walk.

The only place I see people without a mask is outdoors at the Park. I try to give six feet separation when we pass each other, and I don’t stand and talk to anyone.

I don’t know about the rest of Frederick and where people AREN’T wearing masks. I wouldn’t go there.



It really is for the best. The best assumption is that every person not inside your personal bubble is infected and shedding virus. At this point it might not be that far away from the truth.


This is the part in the gruesome play that is our lives in COVID where many of the naysayers suddenly embrace the science, but it's going to kill some of them and unfortunately others of us who have been vigilant. Once we get to March, I think the freedom and no mask crowd will be quite a bit more quiet. People are going to die this winter in their circles and outside of them.


I don't see any naysayers suddenly embracing the science. There are still plenty of idiots walking around without masks, or wearing it incorrectly which is the same as not wearing one at all. They don't care about the country, they only care about themselves.

To quote Larry Hogan:


(Seriously? The Governor can appear in TV and radio commercials saying the word "D*4MN" but FNP forbids me from quoting him?!?)

Greg F



The "g" rated version would be "Wear the dang mask"

I don't understand why the FNP generally allows name calling and other childish/rude behavior but ban some words that are mild in comparison.


[thumbup] Completely agree


Yah, I had to change d*mn to dang in a previous post. Everyone needs to wear their dang masks so that businesses can be open and people can be safer. It is not that hard.

Greg F

Naysayers will be stupid continually. They take that lesson of dumb denial from trumpydim and his failure to admit he lost...bigly. Stubborn stupidity is what it is where you must keep playing your last savings in hope at some point you will recoup your losses, but there is no magic Keno ticket like the Griswolds got in Vegas.


@Greg F

That's all they have at this point. Reality is all too crushing.


There's no chance the no mask crowd will be quieter in March. In fact they'll probably be louder yelling how Biden hasn't done anything to stop the virus. By March however vaccine rollout will be well along and hopefully making a dent in this pandemic.


I suspect the no mask crowd will be out saying we have the vaccine, no need to wear a mask everything should go back to normal.


If you have few extra minutes, watch a replay of today's Coronavirus Response hearing on CSPAN - many medical professionals talking.


That is the goal, but masks will still need to be worn for some time after the vaccine is rolled out to the general public. Based on most experts time line by end of summer they won't be required in most public places.

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