On Friday, we officially marked 10 months since we saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Howard County. Our HoCo RISE recovery plan provides data points that are specific to Howard County, our hospital, and our infrastructure to combat COVID-19.

We have now surpassed our goal of administering 6,500 tests per week for 27 consecutive weeks. Residents are encouraged to still get tested if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19. For a full list of all our locations, please visit hchealth.org

Our contact tracers continue to reach out to all cases and their contacts for residents who tested positive for COVID-19. It is vital that residents answer when contacted by Howard County Health Department. Residents should expect a call from (240) 466-4488 or “MD COVID” on their caller-ID.

Another HoCo RISE goal was to ensure adequate hospital capacity in the case of a possible surge. We are strong partners with the Howard County General Hospital and continue to monitor their staffing capacity. Currently, there are 33 staffed ICU beds (7 available), 193 acute care beds (43 available), and 16 ventilators (21 available). Today, there are 36 COVID-19 patients in both ICU and Acute Care unit.

Finally, we remain prepared for this winter season. While we have maintained our PPE goal of a 30-day, we have achieved a 90-day supply of PPE.

Although vaccine distribution has begun, and expanded administration efforts are on the way, it’s important that we continue to remain vigilant with our mitigation efforts. To date in Howard County, we have 13,431 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 7,612 active cases, 5,619 total recoveries, and 200 of our neighbors have passed from this virus. Our hearts are with the families and friends of those who have departed.

As of 9:00 a.m. today and according to the Maryland Department of Health, our 7-day average positivity rate is at 7.12% and our 7-day average case rate per 100,000 of our population is at 35.40. Both our positivity and case rates are below the State averages, and our rates are within the lower third of all Maryland jurisdictions.

The Howard County Health Department is actively making its way through phase 1A of our vaccine distribution plan and is preparing to enter Phase 1B this week. We estimate, at this time, our Phase 1A to include approximately 15,000 people and, under the Governor’s current guidance, we estimate roughly 35-45,000 in Phase 1B. To date, we have received a total of 7,600 vaccines from the State and administered 85.1% of our allocation, which is 6,470 doses. We are diligently working to ensure residents get vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible, with the limited amount of vaccine we have received.

In the meantime, residents are strongly encouraged to follow the mitigation measures we’ve all grown accustomed to – wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid large gatherings, and practice physical distancing. Join us live on Facebook this Tuesday, January 19th, at 12:30 p.m. for our comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine distribution update. For more COVID-19 and vaccine information, please visit StayCOVIDSafe.howardcountymd.gov

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Scott E

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