Just three weeks after Frederick County celebrated its first day with zero hospitalizations, local cases and hospitalizations are gradually increasing once again.
On June 23, the seven-day positivity rate in Frederick County was 0.31 percent. But the figure had quadrupled to 1.24 percent on Thursday. The local rate is also higher than that of the state’s, which was standing at 1.14 percent.
Frederick County reported seven new cases Thursday, matching the highest daily count of July. Daily new cases never hit higher than five in June.
But these figures shouldn’t be cause for too much concern, said Rissah Watkins, the director of planning, assessment and communication at the Frederick County Health Department. The Health Department has been expecting cases to creep back up, and they expect that trend to continue into the fall, said Watkins.
The upward trend in cases isn’t unique to the county, she added, as it is happening nationwide.
Watkins said what’s most important is that the hospitalizations and deaths don’t increase along with the cases and positivity rate.
“We’re all excited to have things back open and to resume a bit more of normal life, but we are expecting cases to continue to increase, which as long as hospitalizations and deaths don’t increase — that may become more of a new normal,” Watkins said.
In the past week, Frederick County has experienced zero deaths. There were two people hospitalized with the virus as of Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available.
Watkins attributed some of the increase in cases to the circulation of the Delta variant across the country, state and county. But even though cases are rising, the community can still mitigate its effects, Watkins said, simply by getting vaccinated.
“So we do have more work to do in order to protect our own community. It is not over,” Watkins said. “Vaccinations are still the best choice.”
With school starting back up next month, Watkins reiterated the importance of the quarantine process. If a person is exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, unless they are vaccinated and are experiencing no symptoms or tested positive for the virus within the last 90 days, they need to quarantine for at least seven days, she said.
She noted how this could be disruptive — considering people are going back to work and school in-person — but she said that only emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated in this process, she said.
This is especially true as vaccines for younger populations become available.
“We still have some power in the situation,” Watkins said.