FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Frederick County officials are reporting a troubling rise in COVID-19 cases.
“There are predictions of another surge, we’re seeing it in other parts of the country and we’re potentially seeing it here,” said County Executive Jan Gardner. “And it’s scary.”
During a public briefing on Thursday, Gardner announced that the number of new cases has risen faster over the last week than in the past four months.
Gardner says the number of new cases has been on the rise over the last four weeks. During the week of September 20th, 121 new cases were reported. The following week, 147 new cases were reported, and 161 new cases the week after. Last week, the number of new cases reached 176.
“So, our health metrics are trending in the wrong direction,” Gardner said.
As of Thursday, the county reports 4,581 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 130 deaths. Also, a concern for the county executive is the rise in COVID-related hospitalizations.
“Four weeks ago we had a few days when Frederick Health Hospital had zero patients in the hospital with [COVID-19,]” Gardner said. “This week, there are 12. We have had 12 people for three straight days.”
Gardner acknowledged growing frustrations to return to normal and to reopen schools. But she explained the county currently doesn’t meet the two metrics needed to consider a return to in-person instruction: a positivity rate below five percent and a rate of new cases per day per 100-thousand people below five.
“Quite frankly everyone wants to get life back to where it normally is, but right now, in Frederick, we only meet one of these two standards,” she said.
The rate of new cases per day has risen to 9.9, nearly double of what is acceptable by the state to consider in-person instruction.
Health officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer shared that a majority of patients with the virus admitted to attending high-risk gatherings.
“More than half the cases had said ‘Yes, I was at a location where there were more than 10 people at a time.’ We see that family gatherings were the most common ones,” Brookmyer explained.
High risk gatherings also included weddings and parties.
Heading into the holiday season, officials are encouraging the public to host outdoor gatherings, if possible. Brookmyer advised that limiting interactions with people outside of your household limits your risk of exposure.
So try hosting virtual events, Gardner said.
“Do trivia, do book clubs, do all sorts of things,” she said, “It’s not the same [online], it’s not the same but it’s still what we have to.”
For more information on Frederick County COVID-19 statistics click here.