Frederick County reported its second-highest daily number of COVID-19 infections during the pandemic Wednesday, one day after Gov. Larry Hogan (R) imposed further restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The 61 cases reported Wednesday were surpassed by only the 74 infections on April 24 when the early phase of the pandemic was at its height, according to the county health department.
“It is important for everyone in Frederick County to do what they can individually to reduce the spread of the virus in our community,” said Rissah Watkins, the director of planning, assessment and communications for the Frederick County Health Department.
“It’s up to each one of us to make smart choices about who we get together with, and to consistently wear our face coverings and distance ourselves from people outside our households,” she said.
The spike in cases continues a disturbing trend on the county, state and national levels.
As daily case numbers across the U.S. exceed 100,000 on a regular basis, both Maryland and Frederick County are seeing their key metrics regarding the virus rise to levels not seen in months.
That prompted Hogan to restrict capacity at state bars and restaurants to 50 percent Tuesday after they had been operating at 75 percent for more than a month in the county — and almost two months across the state.
“Each of us has to be more cautious and vigilant,” Hogan warned.
On Wednesday, Maryland reported more than 1,700 daily cases for the third time.
The 1,714 cases reported by the Maryland Department of Health were the third-most of the pandemic and brought the overall number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in the state to 158,423. That includes 5,318 in Frederick County.
Hospitalizations statewide surged past 800 for the first time since June 12. The 806 currently hospitalized by the virus include 193 in intensive care.
At Frederick Health Hospital, there were 18 patients being treated for the coronavirus, including two in intensive care.
While the death toll in Frederick County remained at 132, there were 16 deaths reported across the state, bringing the overall number in the state to 4,100.
Meanwhile, the seven-day rolling positivity rate reached its highest level since mid-June in both the county (4.42 percent) and the state (5.6 percent).
The Frederick County Board of Health will convene a biannual meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in a virtual format. The Board of Health includes the county executive and the County Council with the County Health Officer serving as the executive officer and secretary of the board.
“This week’s meeting will focus on a COVID-19 update and discuss possible regulations,” Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county health officer, said in an email to the News-Post.
The Frederick County Health Department announced Tuesday the launch of MD COVID Alert, which is the official COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Express system in Maryland.
Maryland residents that opt into the system will be able to receive updates on their phones if they have potentially been exposed to an infected person.
“It uses Bluetooth technology in smartphones to quickly notify users who might have been exposed to someone who tested positive,” Watkins said.
“For some people, it may be difficult to remember who they’ve been in close contact with when they’re talking with a contact tracer, or they might not have phone numbers for everyone they were around. If people download and activate the MD COVID Alert app, this will help fill in some of those gaps for the contact tracing process and help us to better identify who may be at greater risk for COVID-19. It’s one more tool we can use to help our community, and like all the others, it will work best when many people in our community participate.”