Barbara Brookmyer COVID

Frederick County health officer for Dr. Barbara Brookmyer announces that a person in Frederick County has tested positive for the new coronavirus disease. The person is a woman in her 30s.

Q: There has been much discussion nationally about the risks of on-again, off-again closures to control periodic outbreaks. As we look toward reopening society and the economy, what will you look to as the warning signs that we may need to pull back again?

Brookmyer: The Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery lists “Stop Signs” requiring the easing to slow, stop, or even be reversed:

a. An unexpected increase in hospitalizations or a sustained increase in cases requiring intensive care.

b. Indications that Marylanders are disregarding physical distancing guidelines. If people can maintain physical distancing for this period while we ramp-up testing and contact tracing, we have a much higher chance to open without a spike in cases.

c. Significant outbreaks of community transmission (not clusters or outbreaks in particular nursing homes or vulnerable communities) where contact tracing cannot establish the route of the spread. A sustained increase in cases over a period of five or more days may require the reimposition of some prior restrictions.

Q: Do we have the ability for walk up testing in high risk areas? Not everyone is able to get to Seventh Street.

Brookmyer: Currently, testing is available at the Frederick Health Hospital testing tent and from individual providers. The governor has identified expanded testing capacity as one of the four building blocks to recovery, so we’re working on ways to offer testing. We know that not everyone can use a drive-up option, and also that Frederick County is a large geographic area, so we are looking into ways to offer testing to our residents that will be more convenient.

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Q: What is the definitive proof of death from COVID-19 and not an underlying condition? Why are those classified as COVID-19 deaths?

Brookmyer: Vital Statistics Reporting Guidance can be found on the CDC website. When reporting cause of death on a death certificate, use any information available, such as medical history, medical records, laboratory tests, an autopsy report, or other sources of relevant information. Similar to many other diagnoses, a cause-of-death statement is an informed medical opinion that should be based on sound medical judgment drawn from clinical training and experience, as well as knowledge of current disease states and local trends.

Q: We are in a biomedical technology corridor, can we get in touch with companies here that once a vaccine is available, how can we mobilize them toward becoming a part of the manufacturing process as we don’t truly foresee patent issues in the national interest?

Brookmyer: The governor announced grants for companies that pivoted to produce additional PPE. It’s possible that such grants might be made available for other companies working on vaccines or treatments. State and county officials are working to make sure that our residents have the advantage of the technology that’s so close to home.

Q: What is the potential for social distancing guidelines to do harm to residents’ immune systems? Does the health department anticipate more people getting non-COVID-19 related sicknesses and colds when this is over?

Brookmyer: As people begin to resume their regular activities according to the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery, we expect to see the rates of other infectious illnesses rise again to their usual seasonal levels.

The “Frederick Together Town Hall” can still be watched on the Frederick County, MD Facebook page, or on Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler

Allen Etzler is a city editor at the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at

(2) comments


Please explain to me what the caption under this article regarding follow-up questions on an April 30 town hall meeting had to do with the article. No where in the article does it say anything about a woman in her 30's in Frederick County testing positive for the coronavirus. So when was this photo taken of Barbara and when did she announce the news about this woman? If at the meeting, why was it not mentioned in the article? (side note: to person who wrote caption, next time please proof read before sending your writings for publication) Thanks for listening.

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