Frederick County announced its first two confirmed cases on Monday of COVID-19 being linked to community spread.

The two cases are both women, one in her 30s and one in her 20s, without travel history or known contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19. Both are recovering at home, according to the Frederick County Health Department.

“This means we have to move to a mitigation, instead of a containment, strategy,” Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Frederick County health officer, said in an email.

It was a matter of time before the county saw its first cases of community spread, Brookmyer said, and cases are expected to rise in the next few weeks as more test results, especially those from Frederick Health Hospital’s drive-through testing, start coming back.

“We can assume that there are cases in the county with people who have little to no symptoms and so [they] may be spreading it unaware,” Brookmyer said in the email.

This makes four confirmed cases in Frederick County.

The Maryland Department of Health also announced an additional 44 cases on Monday, bringing the state total to 288. These do not include the two new Frederick County cases, which would bring the state to 290, a jump of 100 since Saturday.

The majority of the cases are in Montgomery County, which has 94, and Prince George’s County, with 47.

COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets, which can be spread from person to person through close contact, the health officer said. If someone infected with the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 touches a surface, they can also transfer the virus there, allowing another person to get it after touching the surface and then their face.

Most people get the disease from coming in close contact, considered 6 feet or closer, to someone who is ill. The more close contact, the greater the chance of getting COVID-19, which is why public health officials have recommended staying home and practice social distancing.

“That is why the Governor has taken the actions he has to limit the reasons for people to be in close contact with someone who may be ill,” Brookmyer said.

When there is a confirmed case in the community, the health department is notified, Brookmyer said. The department’s public health nurses then ask the person questions and recount where the person went and with whom they were in contact. People who may have been exposed could be asked to self-quarantine, which includes monitoring symptoms if necessary.

Although Frederick County has confirmed community spread, the advice to residents remains the same, she said. People should continue to practice social distancing, cover their sneezes and coughs, and wash their hands frequently with soap and water.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio.

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at

(8) comments


It's easy to tell who doesn't practice universal precautions.

I grew up during the pre-vaccine days of the polio epidemic and the mantra then was wash your hands and keep them away from your face.

In years past we have had people in restaurants give us strange looks when we sanitize our hands after touching the chair, the table top, the menus, the condiment dispenser, whatever. Same looks on airplanes when we would wipe down the surfaces we would be touching during the flight.

Not so much now. More and more people are doing it.

On a side note - those gloves you see people using only serve to keep the wearer's hands clean - especially if touching multiple surfaces. Be especially wary of food vendors who wear gloves. Watch and see how many surfaces they touch before touching your food.


Use gloves to pump gas or use an atm. Get in the habit of using hand sanitizer (if you still have some) before you get into your car when you’ve been to a public place. Wash your hands as soon as you get home. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! The odds are maybe 50/50 that you can avoid catching this but if you’re smart & lucky & those around you are the same, maybe you don’t have to get infected.


Why don’t they tell us in what public places these two women have been?


Does it matter seven? Treat every surface as if an infected person touched it (universal precautions), maintain social distancing, and only go to public places if absolutely necessary. Epidemics don't give you a mulligan for an "oops", or "it's only this once". Even the well have a part to play in preventing transmission.


[thumbup] This virus is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. There really is no way of knowing where they got it or where it is at any given moment. If you can STAY HOME. If you have to go out or to work take extreme caution and practice social distancing.


seven - assume that they go to the same places most of us go: they shop for groceries, they pump gas, they use ATMs. Imagine for a moment that medical authorities did report where the patients had been—just because you know it was, say, on a handrail at the library doesn't mean the ATM is safe. The virus is here. It's everywhere. Take precautions. We all are anxious, but we'll get though this.

Comment deleted.

THEM open borders? Sigh. Please educate yourself, dear. The US does not have open borders.

Comment deleted.

The redundancy is real...kelps greatest hits. Time for some new material.

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