By Diane Lee, Garrett County Health Department
According to national data, most deaths attributed to COVID-19 and its complications have been among unvaccinated persons.
Local data shows that between June 2021 and February 2022, approximately 2% of COVID-19 deaths were attributed to Garrett County residents who were fully vaccinated. In this case, age and chronic medical conditions played a role in that outcome. Approximately 98% of deaths during that time occurred in unvaccinated, or partially vaccinated, people. Chronic medical conditions and lack of vaccine-induced immunity played a role in those deaths.
“People who are older and who have other medical conditions as well are at increased risk from COVID-19 infection,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “While COVID-19 vaccination is not 100% protective against death in everyone, it offers very high levels of protection, particularly against death, in the vast majority of us. This local data demonstrates the protective effects of the vaccine in Garrett County residents."
Garrett County has now lost 111 persons to COVID-19 and its complications.
“Since only about 55% of Garrett County residents ages 12 years and older are fully vaccinated, that leaves about 45% of our citizens at a higher risk of contracting the virus,” Stephens said. “Some of these are at higher risk of severe disease, including death.”
“We have lost enough people to COVID-19,” Stephens added. “Please get fully vaccinated, including boosters when due, to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
Vaccination clinics for all eligible age groups are held weekly on Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Garrett County Health Department at 1025 Memorial Drive in Oakland. On Fridays from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at 28 Hershberger Lane, Grantsville. Appointments may be made at garretthealth.org.
Testing and isolating if you receive a positive test result is another way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
This will be the last week of free COVID-19 drive-through testing at the Garrett County Fairgrounds in McHenry. Dates include Thurs., Feb. 17, from 4-7 p.m., and Sat., Feb. 19, from 1-5 p.m.
Testing will be done on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointments are being scheduled. Tests are rapid antigen tests, and results will be available the same day.
Testing is also available at the Garrett County Health Department, 1025 Memorial Drive in Oakland Mon. through Fri. between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. To schedule an appointment visit garretthealth.org or call 301-334-7698.