Howard County Executive Calvin Ball posted the following on social media on November 22nd:

As was largely anticipated, we have seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 spread throughout our community and it is up to all of us to change these trends. Currently, due to a National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NEDSS) upgrade, our Howard County Health Department epidemiologists are working through our increased COVID-19 cases and data to ensure accuracy in our reporting numbers. Therefore, the Howard County dashboard will be made available by tomorrow morning.

As of 9:00 a.m. today and according to the Maryland Department of Health, our 7-day average positivity rate is at 5.12% and our average case count per 100,000 of our population is 26.7. While we are among the lower third of jurisdictions in positivity rates, it has significantly increased from 2.57% this time last month. At the Howard County General Hospital, our unit utilization rates are 45.5% in our ICU Unit, 81.5% in our Acute Care Unit, and 16.3% of our ventilators are in use. Today, there are 34 COVID-19 patients in both ICU and Acute Care units and 53 beds are available in both units. As we see more hospitalizations on the rise, we are in a heightened monitoring state.

To date, we have administered 217,475 tests, which is 37.3% of population tested, and administered 11,945 tests last week surpassing our goal of reaching 6,500 tests for 19 consecutive weeks. At this disconcerting time, residents should get tested. We ramped up our collective testing capacity and several testing locations are available throughout our county. However, as many are getting tested prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, please expect wait times and plan accordingly. For a full list of all our locations, please visit hchealth.org

Our numbers make it very clear – we’re at a pivotal point in this pandemic and the personal actions taken over the next few months will be critical in slowing the rapid spread we’re currently seeing. It’s natural to let your guard down among close family and friends, but that is where we’ve seen continued spread happen.

Wear a face covering, practice 6-feet physical distancing, and wash your hands frequently. It’s that simple. As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this week, we strongly encourage residents to avoid travel, avoid large gatherings, and plan a safe way to celebrate.

For more COVID-19 data and information, please visit https://bit.ly/3b5vqOO

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I am hoping that the upgrade noted above is now completed and the dashboard of COVID-19 data here in Howard County will be updated earlier in the day going forward.

Those of us reporting COVID-19 information rely on the State Dashboard and the Howard County Dashboard to inform the public on the data and to say that the Howard County Dashboard is inconsistent in times the data is updated would be an understatement. We know we will get data from the state at 10:00am each day. There seems to be no set time for getting data from Howard County and it can be very late in the day to get updates. This can be a bit frustrating (at least for me trying to keep our local community updated on the data).

Daily COVID-19 updates going forward will only happen when something significant needs to be reported during the week (which during this most recent surge of cases is happening regularly). Weekly weekend charts will continue to happen on Saturday or Sunday (depending on my schedule and the timing of the release of the information).

Scott E

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