With a holiday weekend approaching, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner sounded alarms Thursday about rising COVID-19 metrics.

“This is not a time for people to relax,” Gardner (D) said while wearing two masks at her weekly public information briefing at Winchester Hall about the county’s pandemic response.

Fearing a potential fourth wave of the novel coronavirus as people begin to gather with family and friends and possibly in churches for Easter, Gardner said it was as critical as ever to follow mitigation strategies such as mask-wearing, hand-washing and physical distancing, even as the county’s vaccination effort continues to gain steam.

The seven-day rolling positivity rate was reported to be 6.24 percent Thursday by the Maryland Department of Health. That is as high as it has been since early February at the tail end of the third surge.

Meanwhile, the number of patients in the 19-bed intensive-care unit at Frederick Health Hospital almost doubled in the past 24 hours to seven, a development Gardner said had caught her eye.

“We are going in the wrong direction, and it’s concerning,” she said.

Roughly 400 cases of COVID-19 were reported in Frederick County over the past week, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 18,252. On Thursday, there were 69 new cases in the county, which Gardner called “a significant change in the wrong direction.”

She said modeling shows the county could have an additional 350 cases by Monday.

Asked if reimposing restrictions was possible to help curb the spread, Gardner said, “That’s a conversation that has yet to be had.” She noted that she would likely have to go back to the Frederick County Board of Health in order to do that. She said it’s typically more effective when restrictions are imposed at the state level by the governor.

During his Thursday afternoon press conference on the virus, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the state is in a race between the vaccine and the COVID variants. He urged caution but made no hint that any further restrictions were coming.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” he said. “The virus is still very much with us.”

When asked what was fueling the recent surge, Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county health officer, said, “People being in close proximity in shared air space for a period of time that allows for the transmission. It’s that simple. The biology hasn’t changed, and the physics hasn’t changed.”

Brookmyer noted there were four waves with the 1918 flu pandemic, and she was worried that the recent spike in COVID cases and rising hospitalizations signified the beginning of the fourth with the coronavirus. She hoped it would not be as severe as the third wave was over the winter.

“Now is not the time to relax one’s personal efforts,” she said.

On Wednesday, the county marked the one-year anniversary of its first COVID-19 death. Gardner said she knew the person, who was active in the community.

As the death toll hit 292 in the county this week, Gardner said community input is being solicited for a COVID-19 memorial in the county. Ideas and suggestions can be submitted on the county’s website, FrederickCountyMD.gov/Memorial, until 4 p.m. on April 16.

“As we approach the sad milestone of 300 lost lives, it is important that we honor those lives in a lasting and meaningful way,” Gardner said. “Frederick is a caring community, and we can demonstrate that by supporting family and friends with a memorial where they can remember their loved ones.”

The rising COVID-19 metrics are running head-on into an expanding vaccination effort.

More than 17 percent of the county’s population has now been fully vaccinated against the disease, while roughly 28 percent (74,082) have received at least one shot of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

Both of those companies announced this week that one shot provides 80 percent protection against symptomatic COVID-19 in real-world circumstances. The efficacy increases to 90 percent after two shots.

With vaccine supply expanding, Hogan announced that all Maryland residents 16 or older can now pre-register for an appointment at one of the state’s mass vaccination sites. That is ahead of the April 27 date the state set for all Maryland residents 16 or older to be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Hogan said the mass vaccination in Frederick County will open the week of April 12 at Frederick Community College.

There was some confusion regarding that announcement because the Frederick County Health Department already operates a vaccine clinic at FCC.

Vivian Laxton, the communications director for Gardner, said the state would likely be providing extra doses to the existing clinic at FCC, but plans are being finalized for a fourth county-run vaccination site. Those plans could be announced any day.

“The vaccine may literally be the difference between life and death for some people,” Gardner said. “So, we really do encourage anyone who is hesitant to get vaccinated to get the vaccine when it’s available to them.”

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter:

@greg_swatek

(51) comments

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Hayduke2

Duh, maybe you should look at the governors of Florida, Texas and other Republican states that put politics above science. Dropping mask mandates, opening everything and expecting that nothing would happen is the result. Those folks who visit those states travel, and guess what they spread when they do... Your hatred of anything connected to the Democrats is blinding your common sense, assuming you can recognize what that is.

Comment deleted.
louisianagirl71105

Boarders??? Hehehehe.

KMcHugh

"'We are going in the wrong direction, and it’s concerning,' she said."

Then why did you reopen bars and restaurants? Anyone with two brain cells together said this is precisely what would happen.

KellyAlzan

I feel like reopening schools is more risky than restaurants.

Comment deleted.
govtmule57

Your comment might have more credibility with proper spelling. More to the point, there's no evidence to support your assertion.

Comment deleted.
shiftless88

Lenny; so you are saying that all these cases in FredCo are being imported from our southern border? Seriously?

Greg F

This was hardly unexpected. People took one iota of relaxing of regs and went the country mile and have ignored most of them lately. Derrr. Keep hearing the misinformation from the boobs like the FL Gubner and CPAC and Fox/NewsMax and Trumpydumb himself. We saw it across the pond too...and just like before, here it is again. Went for take-out food yesterday...2 employees...masks off, others wearing of the nose and prepping food. I left and reported it. This is why it's spreading.

shiftless88

Yep; too many people just don't get it. What is sad is the people who do understand but purposefully mis-inform those who are listening.

KellyAlzan

Not surprised at all.

We went from hogan closing everything to literally overnight demanding schools open up and school sports start up.

bosco

Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county health officer, said, “People being in close proximity in shared air space for a period of time that allows for the transmission. It’s that simple. The biology hasn’t changed, and the physics hasn’t changed.”

KellyAlzan

“Close proximity”. As in schools.

Aslan19

@Kelly,

I am sure that scientific research is not going to affect your preconceived assumptions, but in case someone else with an open mind happens to read this, or a miracle happens and you crack open that locked up grey matter of yours, this is just one of many studies/stories that show you are wrong.

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2021/01/scientists-highlight-low-risk-covid-19-spread-schools

Hayduke2

Asian, in case you are willing to put aside your preconceived notions, there is evidence that school age children may just be driving the current surge in some states and nationwide ( remember, they are currently unvaccinated ). Your snarky comments do not add to the conversation. https://www.edweek.org/leadership/teens-are-driving-covid-19-surges-can-schools-counteract-that/2021/03

Greg F

Some of have ditched preconceived notions, but have seen the cases in schools already, Walkersville being just the last one. Sure, the kids may not have chances between them if not infected. The problem is they go home to their idiot parents who didn't do the right thing and gave it to the kid, who probably doesn't know he/she is a carrier. Derrr.

Greg F

Proximate as in dining table distance really isn't far enough when in a closed in place without much ventilation....as in most restaurants. CDC/WHO and NIH all said 6' is minimum...and optimal is 10+ feet away. That was with masks. Now many are in not just eating, but jabbering away incessantly for that time even they aren't eating or drinking...just jabbering. Complacency will get you.

bosco

How do you know they were just jabbering, Doctor Fed Up GregF? You must've been sitting close enough to overhear. How do you know they weren't vaccinated? Did you ask to see their vaccination cards? Do you carry your very own Mask Enforcement Officer badge?

I'll bet you are looking forward to sitting in your backyard with your mask on to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th. Maybe you'll put on the record player too.

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marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] LeonardKeepers [smile]

PurplePickles aka L&M

Then do something....if you are that concerned do something, just waging your finger at people isn’t doing something....you are basically doing nothing.

newspostreader

She did do something and everyone bashed her for being too strict.

FrederickFan

Everyone needs to do something. Wear your mask. Avoid crowds. Stay six feet apart. It's not hard. Gardner is asking everyone to do their part. Just do it!

bosco

Today, the CDC director said the risk is very low for those vaccinated and earlier this week she said that there is no data that shows vaccinated people can carry and spread the vaccine.

As a vaccinated American, I see no reason why I should be forced to wear a mask - if one follows the government science. Follow the science had been the hue and cry for months. I will, however, wear a mask to respect requirements of businesses and other indoor venues. As the vaccinated community grows, mask mandates will fall by the wayside.

mgoose806

So the positive rate is 6%. The good news is the negativity rate is 94%. so out of every 100 people tested, 94 are negative. for covid. It all is how the numbers of spun.

threecents

Not sure why the positive test rate is so widely reported, rather than just the number who tested positive, along with the hospitalized number and the number who died.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] threecents. [smile]

Greg F

THere's Mar....the thumb-up bot. Let's see some data from you instead of emojis.

bosco

There's Doctor Fed Up GregF, let's see some numbers from you instead of just hate and vitriol about everything. Maybe a source or two comparing rates in states that are open for business compared to lockdown states such as New York and New Jersey.

Hayduke2

Words are hard....

Greg F

What seems to be missed is why people test....is it because they think they're sick? That may be influencing numbers also. Well people just don't drop in often for a test, right? That whole positivity thing seems to be a strange stat. The thing to watch are hospitals to tell you when the S*** is hitting the fan....there and the morgue.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup]mgoose806 [wink][smile]

Jthomas515

I agree. Let’s talk about what is right and working...it is Good Friday.

Greg F

What's so good about it? Oh...vaccines are here for most....well, that makes it good. Spring makes it good...but allergies not so much...

Greg F

Oh great, by your logic you would go to a surgeon that kills 6% of his patients or a pharmacy that gives 6% of its customers the wrong meds. Wow...utterly clueless there mongoose.

Hayduke2

Sure, good news. UNLESS, you happen to be in that 6% or have a loved one impacted because the 94% aren't doing their part.

fnpreader123

It's 6% infected, not dead.

Hayduke2

So, those 6% are all mild cases? They don't spread the virus? They don't mind being infected? They don't interact with others ? None of them have other conditions that might make that worrisome? What exactly is your point?

Frayou

Montgomery County officials expressed same concern. Coincidence?

Big Easy

Democrat "leadership" is the coincidence. They want as much control as they can get. I would love to know the real numbers ... as in, the age and the pre-existing conditions of the people who have unfortunately died from this. Yes, this should be taken very seriously by those who are the greatest risk but the Dems and their state run media outlets provide very general and vague numbers that on the surface look extremely bad but when you peel back the layers, the reactions aren't reasonable or logical. So the ICU beds being used for COVID patients have doubled ... how many of them are elderly or people with the highest risk? And if my math is correct (BTW, I learned that years ago when teachers actually taught in person) 2 people in the ICU is double that of 1, but we will never really know what the real numbers are. We need to move forward and it starts with people thinking for themselves and not taking everything the government and media tell us as the gospel!

Greg F

Wow EZ...what planet are you living on where state media exists for dems? Trump literally had Fox at his fingertips and directed them like he was part of the staff. Now he's on Newsmax and even starting his own propaganda channel. YOu really are part of the problem.

Aslan19

GregF, you make me think of a political cartoon that I saw a ways back. In it a guy is calling another guy an hypocrite because he is in bed with a single harlot who is labeled as Fox News. The problem is, the guy yelling was also in bed with a multitude of harlots labeled CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc.

As I suggested in my reply to your other post, you need some serious help. You should add your tendency for deflection to the list of items that you need to address.

C.D.Reid

Looks like Trump has taken up permanent residency in your empty head, Groggy. [lol][lol][lol]

bosco

There are some "reeducation camps" in China that probably have an extra cot or two that will take referrals for TDS. That would work until the munchin Robert Reich and AOC can get their camps set up here in the US.

By the way, Doctor Fed Up GregF, I'm still not buying a bicycle made in China or any tools from Harbor Freight.

Greg F

CNN is not the only source of news democrats watch. Many watch a lot more. Republicans seem to revolve around the same "sources" that simply do not fact-check their "news" at all, nor make even the slimmest of attempts. Fox and Newsmax are two of the most notorious. LImbacile (thankfully who is no longer with us to spout vitriol) was a major source of misinformation. Hannity was a Limbaugh wannabe but without the charisma. Fox had most of its reporters leave that just could not stand to be liars any longer..and they ended up on CNN and MSNBC which I think fairly balances out and mutes your point that they are fake news. Trump said everyone was fake news except Fox and wouldn't even let CNN interviewers near him after so long or answer any legitimate questions. Trump even ditched Faucci's and Birx's reports on the virus to take some fake stats from a yet-undisclosed source instead to blather on about. Fox may not have lied in some instances, they just omitted truth from their statements and inserted deception where they could to twist and distort truths. That you go on about "state run media" is a laughable joke if it just didn't make you such a sad sack for saying that. It is, by the way "democratic" leadership....so we already see you twist the verbiage like a good conservative does. So it's obvious in your own words you've sucked up that state run media machine Fox, which gobbled and regurgitated all things Trump for 4 years and counting, and still has not a shred of honest news to it any more, having dumped the vast majority of news over pundit TV. CNN does fact check....MSNBC....I don't know...nobody I know watches it. BBC, NPR, AP and several others are my sources. CNN....rarely except for weather or nature type stuff. Most of us recognize things and double check for ourselves to see what is or isn't fake. I have very rarely seen that with any conservative, and as recent as yesterday heard a gaggle of them bantering on about how the election was stolen by those GD rigged machines and illegal votes that were thrown out. Really..where'd they get that news? It wasn't CNN. I agree, people need to think for themselves, but some of them haven't learned how to do that. Go overseas for your math on emergency rooms. Most are stuffed, if they even have them.

Hayduke2

Yup Big E! Your response is exactly why the virus hangs around and we have surges. Go figure. BTW, you figure over 500,000 deaths isn't that bad. Hmmmm....

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