Coronavirus

Frederick County deaths from COVID-19 increased by 11, the highest the county has seen, as the state saw its deadliest 24 hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state and Frederick County are still in the acceleration phase of the pandemic, said Dr. Randall Culpepper, deputy health officer for Frederick County. That means the state has not yet seen the peak in cases or deaths.

“We won't even know that we've reached the peak until we've gotten to the other side of the hill, it started going downhill, that deceleration phase,” Culpepper said. “So I think bottom line that the data still says that we need to continue the social distancing and restriction of movement measures that our governor and our local health folks have recommended.”

In Frederick County, 40 people had died as of Tuesday and 653 had contracted COVID-19. The Maryland Department of Health reported Tuesday state deaths increased by 68 in 24 hours. The 11 new Frederick County deaths are not included in the state numbers.

While the Frederick County Health Department reported the 11 new deaths Tuesday evening, they occurred over the past week, according to a press release from the county’s Joint Information Center.

The deaths are three women in their 80s, two women in their 70s, two women in their 60s, a man in his 80s, a man in his 90s, a man in his 60s and a woman in her 50s, according to Rissah Watkins, director of assessment, planning and communications for the Frederick County Health Department.

The state has lost 584 residents to COVID-19, with another 68 deaths likely attributed to the disease. In Maryland, COVID-19 has killed approximately 840 percent more people than the current influenza season, which runs from November to May.

Maryland is 13th in the country in terms of cases and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state health department does not have data available for 108 of the 584 deaths. It is likely that some of the deaths are in Frederick, Carroll, Howard and Kent counties, where the local health departments are reporting higher death counts.

Maryland now has 14,193 cases, an increase of 509 in 24 hours. This is a much smaller increase than between Sunday and Monday, where cases rose by 854.

Determining the peak means looking at different factors, from deaths, new cases and hospitalizations, Culpepper said. And to say that the state or county reached its peak, the health departments need to see decreases over 14 consecutive days.

“And so if we have a couple of days of decreases and look back up, again, another increase of cases, we haven't reached a peak yet,” Culpepper said. “But when we start seeing consistent decreases of cases over two weeks, then we can look back and say, that was the peak.”

Some states, like Georgia, have indicated that they will start opening up.

“Now, I think that is a grave mistake,” Culpepper said. “I think there'll be grave consequences because of that.”

That could allow a repeat of history, he said.

“You look back in history, look back at the really the mother of all pandemics, the 1918-1919 flu pandemic that literally killed millions of people worldwide,” Culpepper said. “We saw that when we ended the war, there were major, major celebrations and V-Day major celebrations, and major congregating of people again to celebrate those celebrations. And that's what resulted in one of the next waves of that pandemic. Not a good idea.”

Culpepper said he often uses the 1918 pandemic to teach about infectious diseases and pandemics. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the one to study.

“They're gonna be using this pandemic for decades, decades to come to teach other people how to respond better,” he said.

Hospitalizations continue to increase in the state, with 144 residents now hospitalized due to COVID-19. There are currently 1,433 Marylanders hospitalized, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

Of the 1,433 hospitalized residents, 907 are in acute care units and 526 are in intensive care units. The information is not broken down by hospital.

According to a fiscal year 2018 report from the Maryland Health Care Commission, the state has a total of 9,562 acute care beds, which includes psychiatric, obstetric and pediatric.

Frederick Health Hospital had a total of 257 in fiscal year 2018, according to the report.

There were 1,211 critical care beds across the state in fiscal year 2018, including 18 at Frederick Health Hospital, according to the report.

There are currently 30 patients at Frederick Health Hospital due to COVID-19, said Dr. Manuel Casiano, chief medical officer, in an email. Approximately 80 percent of patients are there for non-COVID-19 medical concerns.

Casiano could not share how many people were in the intensive care unit versus acute care due to privacy concerns. Between a third and a half of the ICU patients are there because of the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2.

“Given the nature of the virus, most people who are COVID-19 positive can safely recover at home,” Casiano said in the email. “We are finding that those who require hospitalization are more critically ill. It is important for the public to understand that we continue to maintain available beds for patients needing ICU-level care, as well as those needing inpatient medical care.”

Maryland now has 930 residents who have been released from isolation, an increase of 13. More than that may have recovered, Culpepper said.

In Frederick County, health department nurses call each patient diagnosed with COVID-19. When they meet three criteria --- seven days since onset of illness, three days without a fever and generally feeling better --- they are considered recovered or allowed to be released from isolation.

But it’s getting harder to keep track of all the patients in the county as the numbers increase. Culpepper said he was not sure how well the other jurisdictions have been able to do, especially those that have more than 1,000 cases.

That means the state numbers could be much lower when it comes to those considered recovered.

Increased testing in Maryland

There are increases in positive cases that correlate to increases in testing, Culpepper said.

And although there are cases of asymptomatic people positive for the disease, people still need symptoms to be tested, he said.

“And so, if we can increase testing, I think that helps us to get a better idea of who is infected, whether you're symptomatic or not symptomatic, who's infected and get a more accurate picture of how big this pandemic really is,” Culpepper said.

Frederick County will likely see some of the 500,000 tests Gov. Larry Hogan secured from South Korea.

Hogan wrote a letter to President Donald Trump Tuesday thanking him for the ability to use national laboratories, like those on Fort Detrick, to test the samples.

Representatives from Fort Detrick did not respond to a request for comment in time of publication.

Outside of the federal laboratories, there are ones across the state that will likely be used to test samples, Culpepper said. But before they can test samples, the labs will have to go through their own regulatory testing.

Frederick Health Hospital announced last week that it is already running its own tests.

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio

Follow Heather Mongilio on Twitter: @HMongilio

Heather Mongilio is the health and Fort Detrick reporter for the Frederick News-Post. She can be reached at hmongilio@newspost.com.

(23) comments

Hydra4108

This headline is so misleading. FNP MUST know that the state is now reporting deaths by date of death, and the number of deaths on April 20 were not 68. Please begin to report on the "date of death". IF one of the indicators to reopen is the number of daily positive cases, it would be great if we could get the state it report the number of new positive cases PER DATE OF TEST, and not the date the information made it to someone's desk.

Three0fNine

Where are you getting these numbers? You need to go to the Maryland Department of Health for the OFFICIAL data - https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/ It shows 47 new deaths on Monday and 26 for Tuesday. 73 over 2 days - not 24 hours! Why aren't you counting the number of suicides, murders, assaults, thefts, drug and alcohol addictions due to the loss of work and/or business due to the shutdowns? These are the true costs of this shutdown. TIME TO GET BACK TO BUSINESS!! Trust people to take care of themselves!

patomd969

Just curious. How many coronavirus patients are actually inpatients at Frederick Health Hospital right now? I've heard from several persons that approximately 30 people are in there with the virus. Also heard that nurses and other health care providers at FHH are being laid off because not enough other patients in beds. Just asking if anyone can answer these two rumors.

Alice Jones

dr dumpo is definitely correct it's time to open her back up again.

DeplorableLocalVeteran

Pro lifers abandoning and marginalizing our elderly residents deaths in local nursing homes isn’t MAGA it’s betrayal

DeplorableLocalVeteran

Some on the right view elderly Americans as collateral damage which is why elderly are now fleeing to the left

User1

Seems like our friendly Russian got a new handle!

bosco

How many deaths in nursing homes and other adult care/living facilities?

Pedro4President8768x

How many in the current count died due to an exisiting condition outlined in the top 15 mortality medical reason codes?

bosco

Exactly, Pedro, I wonder how the deaths are being counted when the major cause of death could be due to an underlying condition. For example, an obese person with diabetes succumbs and tests positive for Covid-19. Is that the main cause of death or the underlying conditions that could've been exacerbated by, say, seasonal flu or bronchitis. We need to know more about the statistics because figures don't lie, but liars figure.

Greg F

Bosco....will you stop at nothing to defend your beloved Donnie Damage? They may have had underlying conditions or just been old, but they would not have died had it not been for the virus. Trump is today's Kavorkian....from your point of view....savior of everyone with underlying conditions who want to off themselves earlier than otherwise would have gone. Your dwelling under some remote bridge awaits your return.

bosco

FNP2411 sez.... "Bosco....will you stop at nothing to defend your beloved Donnie Damage? They may have had underlying conditions or just been old, but they would not have died had it not been for the virus. Trump is today's Kavorkian....from your point of view....savior of everyone with underlying conditions who want to off themselves earlier than otherwise would have gone. Your dwelling under some remote bridge awaits your return."

FNP2411...Why do you assume that I am defending Trump by questioning the science behind the statistics and the reporting by the administration? Could it be that your world view is anything not hate-filled toward the President is supporting him?

Science is to be questioned. Statistics can always be manipulated and should be questioned as well. Just the other day I heard an evening news reporter talk about a death rate of five in a particular hospital. When I checked, the number of recoveries for Covid-19 in that hospital was 24 - almost five times the death rate. And yet the reporter focused on the death rate instead of the recovery rate.

Keep washing those hands.

User1

Wonder if the government counted “Jeffrey Epstein’s” hanging as due to coronavirus?

FBoard

The numbers don't track. 0 deaths reported yesterday and 218 today (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/national/coronavirus-us-cases-deaths/). Either way, still an extremely small portion of the population. Reported cases are leveling off, reported deaths are inaccurate and probably include those that didn't actually die of Covid, no specific locality data. Based on data be shared, continued restrictions remain excessive. And I'd be curious; of those who say the drive lift restrictions puts money over public health, how many of you are being paid in some way (working from home, not working but still getting paid, state PLUS federal unemployment)? Easy to say "stay at home" when you still have money rolling in.

Jleftwich

I keep hearing variations on the vexing rationalization such as yours for reopening the economy: "It's only a small portion of the population".That makes me wonder, what would the proportionate number be if restrictions were NOT in place? We have seen cases spike in spots around the nation where restrictions were more lax.

One could point to Sweden for the argument that loose social distancing restrictions work. Sweden didn't impose hefty restrictions, instead leaving it up to the population to police themselves.

That sounds great, until you go inside the numbers:

"More than half of Swedish households are single-person, making social distancing easier to carry out. More people work from home than anywhere else in Europe, and everyone has access to fast Internet, which helps large chunks of the workforce stay productive away from the office."

"And while many other countries have introduced strict laws, including hefty fines if people are caught breaching newly minted social-distancing laws, Swedes appear to be following such guidelines without the need for legislation. Trips from Stockholm to Gotland -- a popular vacation destination -- dropped by 96% over the Easter weekend..." (source: https://bloom.bg/3aqty2a)

As for your comment about counting deaths related to Covid, it's really up to each state. Since there is a dearth of tests available to confirm, often the determination is a judgement call. Even still, the CDC admits the count is likely under represented:

"Asked how the national count is compiled, however, a CDC spokeswoman said on April 4 that the agency aggregates state tallies and counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus was confirmed in a laboratory test, a method it acknowledged results in an “underestimation.” (source: https://wapo.st/2KmyaeX)

So, with all that, let's pretend you're in charge. Where do you find the sweet spot between ensuring health and safety and reopening the economy? Bear in mind, allowing businesses to reopen is not a guarantee that customers will come flocking in.

bosco

"not a guarantee that customers will come flocking in"......is exactly what happened in Germany. The people made their own decisions on where to go and when. For example, would you board a cruise ship right now?

We should start to reopen, the CDC vulnerable continue lockdown, and get the majority of the population back to work.

Wash your hands.

Jleftwich

Bosco: Vulnerable. Like the ones at nearly any nursing home? The disease tends to ravage those facilities. Yet, the residents likely are not very mobile. So the disease came from the outside, likely from someone younger, no? Maybe came from someone asymptomatic.

You want to throw open the doors to the economy? Read this first:

"Federal health officials estimated in early April that more than 300,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 if all social distancing measures are abandoned, and later estimates pushed the possible death toll even higher" per the Dept. of H&HS (source: https://bit.ly/2xNH0Qi)

Look, science isn't always sexy. But it has a habit of getting its way.

gabrielshorn2013

Good points Jleftwich. We also have to look at the differences in philosophy and their effect on death rates. Sweden sits at 17.3 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 people, while the rest of Scandinavia who maintained tight restrictions have less than one fifth that. Norway has 3.37 deaths per 100,000 people, and Finland has 2.56 deaths per 100,000 people. Will Sweden come out ahead of the rest of the region that mandated self-isolation? It's too early to tell.

bosco

And what does testing prove? Can you go back to work if you test negative? How do I know you tested negative? Do you still need to wear a mask? How about if you test positive, but are asymptomatic? Can you go back to work? Do you have to wear a mask? What about if you test positive for antibodies? Can you return to work? Do you have to wear a mask?

And in the midst of all of this, is there testing being done for seasonal flu?

FBoard

Very good question, and I am not suggesting a complete relaxation. I am simply stating that the numbers do not support the level of detention currently in place. It's not "vexing", it's a matter of common sense and working with actual, not inflated or obfuscated, data. I don't care how the Swede's live. Focus on the numbers, where the risks are, address those, and allow our lives to move in the direction of normal. And your quoted statement confirms it "...and counts only deaths in which the presence of the coronavirus was confirmed in a laboratory test,..." that would include deaths from other causes counted if Covid existed. So the number may actually be overestimated. If I were in charge, I'd ask each vertical business not fully functional, how they would create a safe environment. Golf course: open, club house closed, everybody walks, no one shares a cart. Restaurants: fewer patrons (some number density similar to retail stores now), remove half the tables, everyone keeps distance. Movie theaters: only families sit together, everyone masked. Large gatherings: Hard to say, but maybe some intermediate option between closed and completely back to January. Bottom line, what we are in now is TOO much!

Greg F

So...now you're again in the GOP boat that everyone is corrupted and double-dipping...typical republican viewpoint...everybody is corrupt except themselves. What you are suggesting is not legal, nor ethical and if they are doing it, it certainly is not going to go without punishment or penalty if discovered...unless they all think that what they're doing is like payoffs to porn stars that go unpunished so they aren't likely to be punished either? Hmm...as for numbers...why not you go out and do a survey yourself if you don't trust what is being published? So much tin foil going into hat making lately.

User1

They haven’t been reported or counted for a few weeks now. My 97 year old MIL in in Homewood nursing home. She tested positive last Thursday and was moved onto a “isolation” wing. She was tested due to a sore throat. She has no fever and her oxygen saturation level is constant around 90%. I know for a fact they have at least 8 residents testing positive, at least 4 workers testing positive and 2 deaths. Yet they fail to report it in the FNP because the state Health Department doesn’t want to release the numbers. Wonder why?

Greg F

News is yesterday that nursing homes will be mandated to report any positive tests...and seems if they aren't, they should be reported to the local health department in which they reside.

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