By Diane Lee, Public Information Officer, Garrett County Health Department
When it comes to COVID-19, being the county with the highest 7-day positivity percentage is not where you want to be, but that’s exactly where Garrett County is right now.
Garrett County’s 7-day positivity percentage is 13.85% compared to the state’s 4.89%
The county is also currently third highest at 37.42 for 7-day case rate per 100,000, compared to the state average of 16.9.
The percentage of 12+ population vaccinated in Garrett County ranks at the bottom of Maryland’s counties. At 48%, not even half of the eligible persons have received at least one vaccine. “Although vaccine hesitancy remains strong in the county, evidence continues to mount that the vaccines do work. 94.7% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in MD since January 2021 have been among unvaccinated people, and 95.4% of lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths since January 2021 have been among the unvaccinated,” said Garrett County’s Deputy Health Officer and Medical Director, Dr. Jennifer Corder. “Our best defense against COVID-19 is to get the vaccine.”
Around this time last year, the county had just broken into the 60s for positive cases. Now we have had 76 cases in the last 10 days, with the total cumulative cases at 2,202 today.
Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, making it the first to receive full approval. The Pfizer vaccine will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. It will also continue to be available under emergency use authorization for youth age 12-15 and for a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
“The only way we are going to be able to turn the trend around in Garrett County is for more people to get vaccinated,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “The FDA’s authorization of the Pfizer vaccine should help reduce some of the hesitancy about getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Over 24,000 pages of data was reviewed by the FDA prior to their approval.”
The Garrett County Health Department has a vaccination clinic scheduled at the Oakland office, today, Tuesday, August 24th, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 301-334-7697 to schedule an appointment. Walk ins are also welcome. Additional clinics are scheduled each Tuesday at the Oakland office.
A clinic is also scheduled at the Grantsville office on Friday, August 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 301-334-7697 to schedule an appointment. Walk ins are also welcome. Additional clinics are scheduled each Friday at the Grantsville office.
“Getting vaccinated is still your best defense against severe illness and death from COVID-19,” Stephens said. “Although there have been break through infections in vaccinated persons, these cases remain rare, and in most incidents, less severe.”
Maryland’s first post-vaccination infection was identified on January 26, 2021. From then to mid-August, fewer than 0.21%, or just over 7,000 of the 3.3 million fully vaccinated Maryland residents later tested positive for COVID-19. Only 5.0%, or 627, of these people were hospitalized. Fully vaccinated people make up only 5.3% of all confirmed COVID-19 case in Maryland since January 2021, and 71 deaths, representing 4.6% of lab-confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Maryland.
For more information visit garretthealth.org or call 301-334-7698.