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Testing Continues as Garrett County Receives First Doses of Vaccine

Last Updated on Dec 28, 2020 at 11:29am | Communications Office
By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team
 
Garrett County currently has a total of 1,460 cases and 37 deaths due to COVID-19 or its complications. Western Maryland counties hold the top three highest rankings for both 7-day rates tracked by Maryland (case rate and positivity rate) with Garrett County currently ranked as second highest for both.
 
7-day case rate per 100,000 residents – Maryland 14.6
1. Allegany County - 78.3
2. Garrett County - 76.8
3. Washington County - 75.4
 
7-day positivity rate – Maryland 7.4%
1. Washington County - 14.6%
2. Garrett County – 13.1%
3. Allegany County – 12.5%
 
The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine are reaching the county this week, with Garrett Regional Medical Center receiving a 100-dose shipment on Monday, and the health department receiving 100 doses on Wednesday.
 
Health Officer Bob Stephens reported during the Garrett County Commissioner’s Meeting Tuesday that an initial shipment of 100 doses was sent to all health departments in Maryland to allow the agencies to vaccinate the staff who will be the vaccinators and to test the vaccination process and the computer system designed to track vaccinations. Additional doses will be distributed based on population and are expected weekly.
 
“It’s important for us to protect those front-line people who will be taking care of everyone else,” said Stephens. “We will start by vaccinating the people who are working directly with the community to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and those whose absence would create a strain on the health care system.”
 
“We will be working with our partners, including primary care providers, who know their patients well, and know who is at highest risk for complications from COVID-19,” Stephens added. “In the beginning, there is not going to be enough doses to keep up with demand, and that is why we are going through a staging process. Eventually, there will be enough for everyone.”
 
Stephens said long-term care facilities are being taken care of through contracts with CVS and Walgreens Pharmacies, and should be getting those vaccines very shortly.
 
The COVID-19 vaccines are a new type of vaccine called Messenger RNA or, mRNA vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines do not use a weakened or inactivated germ to trigger a body to produce an immune response. Instead, they teach cells how to make a protein—or a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside the body. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what provides protect from getting infected if the real virus enters the body.
 
“It’s like an email that tells your immune system that COVID is on the way it needs to prepare to fight it off,” Stephen said. Visit Garrett County Government’s Facebook page to view Stephen’s full update from the December 22nd meeting.
 
There will be no testing on Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) at the MEDCO Building in the McHenry Business Park. Free COVID-19 testing will be held at this location on Tuesday, December 29 (9 am-12:30 pm) and Thursday, December 31 (10 am-2 pm). Preregistration is recommended to speed up the process on the testing day. Visit garretthealth.org for preregistration information.
 
Anyone with COVID-19 like symptoms and a doctor’s order may call Health Department 301-334-7697 to schedule a testing appointment at the Oakland office.
 
Additional COVID-19 resources:
  • Visit garretthealth.org for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.
  • To schedule an Influenza vaccination, call the Health Department at 301-334-7697.