Another week, another round of gloomy COVID-19 news. We hope people are heeding the concerns.

The latest comes from Gov. Larry Hogan, who told us at a Tuesday press conference that the state was nearing the threshold that would require hospitals to expand bed capacity by 10 percent. Each hospital must submit a plan by this coming Tuesday that explains how they would meet bed and staffing expansions. Hogan also put out a call for additional manpower to help at hospitals, nursing homes, testing sites or wherever else may be needed.

This latest news comes at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations are nearing pandemic highs here and around the country. As Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said last weekend, we may very well see a “surge upon surge” in the coming weeks.

We see the frustration. We feel the COVID burnout like everyone else.

“I do understand we all just want to take one day off from COVID-19, especially during the holidays,” Dr. David Marcozzi, the COVID-19 incident commander for the University of Maryland medical system, said at that Hogan press conference. “Unfortunately, the virus does not take a day off.”

But until we can all get the vaccine, we’ve got to be vigilant.

We were pleased to see County Executive Jan Gardner nominate and then the County Council confirm the 11 members of the Sustainable Monocacy Commission this week. Nearly a year after the commission was established, it’s good that it now has some people on it.

The task before the commission isn’t going to be an easy one. Nearby Carroll County, which controls about one-third of the river upstream, doesn’t share the same goals as Frederick County does. After years of fighting, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners decided in 2019 that each jurisdiction should proceed with its own plans for the river.

So much for regional cooperation. Apparently, the counties disagreed over things ranging from the definition of the word “corridor” to more meatier things such as whether ecologically significant areas, or ESAs, should be included in the plan. Still, don’t for a second think that a Frederick County-only plan is going to make life a lot easier. The Frederick County board is going to have to build a plan that satisfies both property owners and environmentalists. That might not be easy either.

But a tough task doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And we’re looking forward to the process of preserving one of our county’s treasures, the Monocacy River.

Up until now, a great deal of the history of African-Americans in Frederick has been stored in David Key’s work shed. Soon, thankfully, those items will have a more appropriate place to be displayed so that others can appreciate them.

Earlier this week, Mayor Michael O’Connor gifted a 3,200-square-foot space inside the East All Saints Parking Garage that will become a cultural and education center for the African American Resources, Cultural and Heritage (AARCH) Society. Key, president of the organization, envisioned the space a place where presentations could be made and films shown, with displays and artifacts displayed elsewhere in the center.

The announcement comes on the heals of Frederick County’s announcement of a $50,000 grant to help AARCH get the center going.

“A physical location will give people who visit Frederick and people who are from here ... the opportunity to hear the rich history of African Americans in Frederick, a story that’s been under-told,” O’Connor said at the announcement.

We agree. We’re looking forward to the center’s opening, now set for early 2022.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And not a moment too soon.

From the holiday train rides in Walkersville to the decorations along Carroll Creek to the socially-distant Santa at malls and craft shows, the holiday festivities are a welcome distraction from the depressing days of 2020.

“Everyone has really endured a difficult year and to be able to give families and children some sense of normalcy with the safety precautions in place is something nice for the kids to have,” Rachel Shipley, director of special events at the Walkersville Southern Railroad, told our reporter last weekend. “A lot of things might be canceled but Christmas isn’t canceled.”

No, Christmas is far from canceled. We see it just about everywhere we go. And while it may have seemed like the decorations came a bit earlier this year, we have no complaints. This year, perhaps more than any year we can remember, we’re looking forward to this season of hope. As the song goes, “We need a little Christmas right this very minute.”

Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to letters@newspost.com.

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