Yesterday, County Executive Calvin Ball announced the second highest number of daily cases of COVID-19 in Howard County of 82 cases, according to the most recent data from the Maryland Department of Health. The highest number of daily cases was last recorded on May 23, with 83 cases, many of which were associated with a nursing home outbreak. These recent cases differ in that they are younger, have fewer associated deaths and fewer associated with nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The Howard County case rate per 100,000 is currently at 10.4, it previously peaked at 12 per 100k on May 30 and was at its lowest on June 27 at 4.9 per 100k. New confirmed cases and other metrics are reported daily on Howard County’s COVID-19 Dashboard.
“As was largely anticipated, with impending cooler weather we have seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 spread throughout our community,” said Ball. “I understand the pandemic fatigue we all are feeling, but this is a wake-up call. We need to resume the personal practices our residents embraced this Spring to slow the spread of this virus and keep one another safe. Wear a face covering when you are in public, or with anyone outside of our household. Continue to wash your hands frequently, especially after touching common public surfaces. Businesses should continue to telework. We must work together to combat the spread of this virus.”
Governor Hogan today reissued a travel advisory for Maryland residents visiting states that have a positivity rate of over 10%. Residents are encouraged to get a COVID-19 test if they have possible exposure to the virus or have participated in a higher risk activity such as travel out of state or gatherings outside your household. Howard County currently has 10 locations where residents may be tested. To view testing locations, please click here.
“The continued trend of increasing cases and positivity rate is concerning,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “Howard County’s data is favorable compared to surrounding jurisdictions but likely the situation is not stable.”
Howard County issued guidance for residents ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. The Howard County Health Department recommended:
· Avoid large indoor gatherings, dinners and parties, especially with people outside your immediate family.
· Avoid large crowds even when outside, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
· Staying home is the best way to protect yourself. Avoid travel to attend holiday gatherings.
· Shop online and avoid crowded stores.
· Get a flu shot and wash hands frequently.
Lower risk options for celebrating:
· Have a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
· Prepare traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and deliver them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others.
· Enjoy apple-picking or pumpkin picking outdoors.