County Executive Jan Gardner is "cautiously optimistic" about improving coronavirus metrics, but she remains concerned about a high number of hospitalizations in Frederick County due to the virus.

As a result, Gardner has no plans to lift restrictions on bars and restaurants in terms of the hours they can operate and their ability to serve alcohol after 10 p.m. until there are fewer virus-related cases in the hospital. Her executive order on the matter is set to expire Monday, and she's hoping that better numbers over the weekend will allow that to happen.

"I had certainly hoped to be able to lift that executive order last week and again this week. But, unfortunately, hospitalizations have remained high, and I feel I am unable to do that at this time," Gardner said Thursday at her weekly public information briefing about the coronavirus and the county's vaccination effort that was conducted virtually due to the snowstorm. 

Gardner also said she will revisit an executive order on indoor recreational activities as soon as hospitalization numbers come down.

At Frederick Health Hospital, there were 35 patients being treated for coronavirus Wednesday, including 10 in the 19-bed intensive care unit.

Those numbers are down from all-time highs in January, but still as high or higher than numbers posted last spring during the initial wave of the pandemic.

"Frederick County's hospitalization rate is a concern because that has been our focus," Gardner said. "Our focus has been to flatten the curve and reduce the strain on our hospital and health care system."

Other key coronavirus metrics continued to fall from their peak levels in recent months, which Gardner hailed as "welcome news."

The number of new cases (71) in the county remained below 100 for the 20th straight day, and the county's rolling seven-day positivity rate (4.8 percent) is as low as it's been since early November.

Gardner reiterated her concern that the county is receiving fewer first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine than it was in previous weeks, as the state begins to allocate more to private pharmacies and mass-vaccination sites.

But she did say the four-week allocation projections now being provided by the Maryland Department of Health will make it easier for the county to plan vaccination clinics and move through the priority groups. MDH was previously providing two-week projections for vaccine allocation.

Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county's health officer, said predictable shipments of vaccine "will enable us to now start providing better information for people as to where are they in that priority list."

The county health department is currently vaccinating anyone in Phase 1A — first responders and licensed health-care providers — 1B, including educators and people in assisted and congregate living environments, and anyone in 1C who was born in or before 1947.

Gardner said she will continue to advocate for more vaccine to be allocated to the health department and Frederick Health Hospital.

"We are ready to vaccinate more people," she said. "We just need more vaccine."

Follow Greg Swatek on Twitter: @greg_swatek

(34) comments

bosco

Floyd R. Turbo, disguised as Quid Pro Joe is on TV walking back, flip flopping and gaffing about the virus. Tune in.

jth7100

Montgomery county is not as white as Frederick County. Is that the correct answer?

public-redux

I shudder when I think how much worse it would be had Blaine or Kirby been CE.

jth7100

Don't forget your Geritol.

bosco

Does FMH take patients who are not Frederick County Residents? Of course. So, how does Jan know that restrictions in FREDCO are responsible for hospitalizations at FMH?

TomWheatley

What is missing is the number of new cases entering the hospital. New cases is 71, but no inkling of the severity requiring admittance. Not happy to see anyone in there at all, but it really is not the issue at hand.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] bosco, as usual. [smile]

phydeaux994

FYI....It’s now FHH, Frederick Health Hospital bosco.

bosco

Thanks, Fido. Old habits are hard to break, aren't they. I guess the "memorial" part didn't sound good for incoming patients. [thumbup]

FrederickFan

Jan Gardner has done a great job at a task no one expected to do and few would want to do. Let's stay safe folks. We have months to go with this virus.

fnpreader123

Correction, we have the rest of our lives with this virus. It's going to be an annual shot, just like the flu.

bosco

I think you are spot on, fnpreader123. There are remnants of both the Spanish and the Russian flus in the coronavirus family - for which we get flu shots .I can see an annual separate covid booster for several years at least.

I'm hoping somebody is studying whether those who are vaccinated can shed the virus. Otherwise, the politicians will keep restrictions in place for fear of loosening them and a case popping up.

I've had my second shot so I'll be searching for such a study not to far from FREDCO if possible.

msmith6276

From NYT column this AM: If you’re a regular reader of this newsletter, you’re probably familiar with the idea of vaccine alarmism. It goes something like this:

The coronavirus vaccines aren’t 100 percent effective. Vaccinated people may still be contagious. And the virus variants may make everything worse. So don’t change your behavior even if you get a shot.

Much of this message has some basis in truth, but it is fundamentally misleading. The evidence so far suggests that a full dose of the vaccine — with the appropriate waiting period after the second shot — effectively eliminates the risk of Covid-19 death, nearly eliminates the risk of hospitalization and drastically reduces a person’s ability to infect somebody else. All of that is also true about the virus’s new variants.

Greg F

So far no data of any final nature on keeping it from spreading. It isn't even confirmed yet how long your immunity actually lasts, but if enough are actually immune from the vaccine at the same time, then the transmission rate will eventually drop. You may get it and shed it, but won't be affected and gain immunity yourself...and more exposure later strengthens from studies so far. Wash, rinse, repeat and it should be sufficient to squash this unless too many still run around thinking they can't actually shed it and maybe do...so...best to keep the mask on until the studies they are working on now are finalized.

wran

I saw Biden saying we might be out of the woods by "next" Christmas. Not this Christmas, but next Christmas.

NewMarketParent

@wran

That is probably realistic given reluctance by the stupids to get vaccinated. They don't mind sharing their ignorance using their iPhones which were created by the same underlying fundamental sciences.

Frayou

Recently heard media report on Covid static’s for California which has lockdowns and Florida which is not are relatively the same. Questioning whether lockdowns work vs people just taking necessary precautions to include limited exposure, wearing mask, social distancing and washing hands.

bosco

[thumbup]

pdl603

Of course ze restrictions stay...Her lack of ability to get vaccines for her constituents demands it. Hogans in ability to get the doses from Weak Kneed Wheezy is pathetic. And Chairman Xiden’s plan has failed before it got started. As soon as Bidenz said the feds were taking over you know it was going to fail.

Piedmontgardener

Man, try to enter reality, your comments are just a sewer stream of garbage.

pdl603

Reality is the realm where I exist. Sadly, the democrat lens through which you view everything has lied to you and you are to ignorant to see it.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][beam] pdl603. Good comeback.

NewMarketParent

@Piedmontgardener

That is probably the most accurate description I have ever seen with the exception that the stream is probably on fire.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] pdl603 [smile]

Aslan19

There is no way that this woman will give up any of her 'emergency' powers because she knows that the minute that she does, there is no chance of getting them back. Plain and simple, she thinks that she knows best and must protect everybody from themselves. I can't wait until her term ends. (Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that her replacement will be any better. There is sufficient evidence that he/she will be worse.)

pdl603

Asian19, [thumbup][thumbup]. Sadly, with the Montgomerification of Frederick County we can expect the same or worse. Jan’s ineptitude has had a real impact on the county lately.

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup] Once again,right on, pdl603. [smile]

phydeaux994

Are you another bosco clone? Or just one of the 🐑🐑🐑🐑

phydeaux994

And the MoCo folks keep outsmarting them!

Dwasserba

Run for office.

NewMarketParent

@PDL

There's that dog-whistle again. Montgomery County seems to be doing just fine. What is wrong with Montgomery Country?

I'll give everyone about what your reference to Montgomery County is. It rhymes with "space-ism".

phydeaux994

Why didn’t you do something about keeping MoCo out of FC piddle? You saw it coming for 50 years. It crossed into FC 20 years ago in Urbana. Did you encourage your Commissioners to come up with a County Growth Plan at the time??? Why not piddle? How about you Asian19? It’s too late now, the Libs now own your County. Too bad, so sad.😪

marinick1

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] Asian19.

NewMarketParent

@Aslan19

You have no realistic basis for any of that. Good luck in lala land.

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