The majority of COVID-19 cases in Frederick County can be found in five ZIP codes.
The ZIP codes making up the city of Frederick and its bordering neighborhoods — 21701, 21702, 21703 and 21704 — have the most cases compared to the other areas in the county. ZIP code 21771 also has a large number of cases, but that ZIP code is split between Frederick and Carroll counties, so it is hard to tell how many cases are considered Frederick County’s.
At least 1,457 of Frederick County’s 1,880 confirmed cases of COVID-19 are found in the four Frederick-area ZIP codes. These ZIP codes tend to reflect areas that have lower health scores and lower life expectancy, according to the Frederick County Health Needs Assessment.
But if COVID-19 patterns were to truly follow the areas considered to have the lower health scores, the ZIP codes comprising Brunswick, Thurmont and Emmitsburg would also see a high number of COVID-19. But that is not the case.
There are three possible reasons for the lower number of cases in these areas, said Dr. Randall Culpepper, deputy health officer for Frederick County. There could be fewer people, lower access to testing or fewer people getting sick.
“We also know that, aside from seeing a health care provider who may be local, so far the testing sites have been centralized to the City of Frederick, so this could be a barrier for people in other parts of the county,” Culpepper said in an email. “This is one of the reasons we’re working on ways to expand testing so that it’s available to all our residents who need it.”
Transportation has been a consistent problem for Brunswick, Emmitsburg and Thurmont, and with tests often centralized to Frederick city, people may not be able to get tested. TransIT added limitations to its service as a result of COVID-19, with the public transportation system only available for essential services.
“Drive through clinics are convenient, but only if you have access to a car,” Culpepper said.
Those four ZIP codes do include the majority of nursing homes with cases, which do account for a large number of cases, Culpepper said. But even including the nursing home cases, 21702, which has the largest number of cases of any zip code, only 12 percent of cases are from long-term care facility residents.
The ZIP code accounts for 28.5 percent of cases in Frederick County.
One thing the four ZIP codes have in common is that they have the largest black and Latino populations in the county.
Residents in the 21702 are 15.9 percent black and 13.3 percent Latino, according to the most recent census data. Across the country, public health officials have found that COVID-19 affects those who are Latino and black more, and it appears to be the same in Frederick County.
“We have seen from early on that Black/African-American or Latino residents seemed to be being diagnosed with COVID-19 disproportionately given our population demographics,” Culpepper said.
The data in Frederick County is incomplete, Culpepper said, since 20-25 percent of records do not include population demographics. Still, the county found enough evidence to look at ways it can reduce barriers to testing for these populations.
Across Maryland, black residents make up 28.7 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 41.4 percent of deaths. Latino residents account for 24.7 percent of confirmed cases and 9.2 percent of deaths.
COVID-19 cases surpass 50,000In less than three months, more Maryland residents have died from COVID-19 than the number of Marylanders who died from accidents in 2018.
The Maryland Vital and Statistics report from 2018, the most recent data available, listed accidents as the fourth leading cause of death for the entire year. These numbers include roadway fatalities as well as other accidental deaths.
COVID-19’s death rate in Maryland, so far in the pandemic, is 38.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. Accidents in 2018 had a rate of 38.4 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to the report.
All but two counties have reported deaths from COVID-19. Frederick County has 107 deaths. There were no new deaths reported since Thursday.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland surpassed 50,000 Friday morning. Cases increased by 1,279 since Thursday morning, bringing the total in the state to 50,988. Frederick County, which has 1,880 cases, account for about 3.6 percent of cases.
But as cases and deaths rose, hospitalizations and the positivity rate, two metrics used to measure the state’s response to the pandemic, both dropped since Thursday.
Hospitalizations are down by 38 with drops in both acute and intensive care patients.
The positivity rate decreased from 12.41 percent to 12.05 percent. On May 28, there were 11,719 tests conducted. Depending on where the tests are conducted, such as CVS, which opened another location in Frederick County — 1460B West Patrick Street — could see delays of three to five days before someone received their test results.
Frederick Health Hospital also continued to see decreases in hospitalizations, with the total number of beds in use dropping by one, as of Thursday. Hospitalizations are reported with a one-day lag.
The Frederick County Health Department reported 28 more people released from isolation Friday, bringing the total to 1,176. Approximately 62.5 percent of confirmed cases in the county have been released from isolation.