A staff member of a local restaurant has tested positive for COVID-19, as Frederick County reported four new confirmed cases of the disease.
White Rabbit Gastropub in downtown Frederick disclosed on its Facebook page Wednesday that the employee tested positive and that the restaurant would be closed for two weeks.
The staff member is on the mend and self-isolating with his family at home for two weeks, according to an internal memo obtained by The News-Post.
News of the staff member’s case comes as Maryland reports more than 400 confirmed cases of the disease and an increase of 74 in 24 hours, the largest so far. It is unclear if the staff member is among the eight cases reported in Frederick County. Cases are typically categorized by where the person lives and not where they work.
The Frederick County Health Department reported four more cases, all of which were community spread, meaning the origin of the disease in each case is unknown. The four new cases bring the total in the county to eight.
White Rabbit contacted the health department, which advised that the restaurant could stay open, according to the Facebook post announcing its temporary closure.
The staff member had not been in the restaurant for a week, according to the post.
According to the internal memo, White Rabbit did not intend to close immediately after learning the staff member tested positive. Instead, the restaurant told employees to “remain super vigilant with our interactions at work and outside of work,” according to the memo.
White Rabbit also asked that employees sanitize door handles, their phones and other surfaces.
“First thing you do when you walk into work, get your temperature taken, sanitize your phone and wash your hands,” according to the memo.
The restaurant also encouraged staff to limit interaction with customers. In the memo, the restaurant listed the symptoms of COVID-19 and said if people experienced any of them, they should get tested and not come to work.
White Rabbit ownership did not return a request for comment.
All but two counties in Maryland — Dorchester and Allegany — reported confirmed cases of the disease Wednesday morning.
Cases jumped by 74, from 349 to 423, although the numbers do not include an eighth Frederick County case reported Wednesday morning.
The four new Frederick County cases are two men in their 50s, a woman in her 40s and a woman between 65 and 69 years old.
All four people are recovering at home.
While Frederick County has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19, the first case, a woman in her 30s, has been cleared.
At a press conference Wednesday morning, Fran Phillips, deputy secretary of public health services, said that 17 of the 423 cases across the state have recovered. The state has also had four deaths related to COVID-19.
Of the 424 cases, as of 10 a.m., 217 are in people between 20 and 50 years of age. The majority of those who test positive are in their 40s, Gov. Larry Hogan said at the press conference. The youngest case in Maryland is a 10-month-old.
“And while we’re thankfully not at the level of infection and death that we’re seeing in some other states, we’ve been taking swift, aggressive and unprecedented actions in an effort to stop hundreds of thousands of people from becoming infected and to save the lives of thousands of Marylanders,” Hogan said. “Yet, in spite of these aggressive actions, this crisis continues to escalate at a rapid pace.”