Last week, we officially marked 11 months since we saw the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Howard County. Although vaccine distribution has started, it’s important that we continue to remain vigilant in our mitigation efforts. To date in Howard County, we have 15,523 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 8,252 active cases, 7,051 total recoveries, and 220 of our neighbors have passed from this virus. We’re keeping these families in our hearts.

As of 9:00 a.m. today and according to the Maryland Department of Health, our 7-day average positivity rate is at 3.72% and our 7-day average case rate per 100,000 of our population is at 10.31. Both our positivity and case rates are below the state averages, and our rates are within the lower third of all jurisdictions.

We have proudly surpassed our goal of administering 6,500 tests per week for 31 consecutive weeks. Residents are encouraged to still get tested if they think they may have been exposed to COVID-19. For a full list of all our locations, please visit hchealth.org

Another HoCo RISE goal was to ensure adequate hospital capacity in the case of a 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 (14 available), and 179 acute care beds (28 available). Today, there are 19 COVID-19 patients in both ICU and Acute Care unit.

Additionally, while we have surpassed our PPE goal of a 30-day, and now have maintained a 90-day supply of PPE.

The Howard County Health Department is actively making its way through Phase 1A and 1B as well as older adults in Phase 1C as supply becomes available. To date, we have received 18,725 first doses and administered 111.3%. The percentage is over 100% due to the weeks that we received the Pfizer vaccine and were able to generate more doses from the allotment. Last week, we learned our Health Department will receive 1,700 doses each week for the next four weeks. However, due to the winter weather, our 1,700 first doses for this week were not delivered and have been delayed.

This decreased allocation to the Howard County Health Department represents the State’s continued transition from local health departments vaccinating their communities to regional State-run mass vax clinics, retail pharmacies, and hospital operating clinics. All residents are encouraged by the State to register for a vaccine at these sites by using the State vaccine locator: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#locator.

All phases, 1A, 1B, 1C, 2, and 3, can pre-register at vaccine.howardcountymd.gov or by calling 410-313-6284. Pre-registering does not schedule an appointment but provides your contact information to the Health Department, so you may be notified when appointments are available. All vaccinations at this time are by appointment only. Not everyone will get appointments immediately until we have enough vaccine, and we do not have enough vaccine. Residents who have preregistered will be notified by email over the next several days to schedule an appointment. Appointments are required, and persons should arrive no sooner than 10 minutes prior to their appointment time.

We can only end this pandemic by working together, we must continue practices that we all know at this point – wear a mask around people not in your household, avoid gatherings of large groups, keep your distance, and wash your hands. Let’s StayCOVIDSafe HoCo.

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Photo taken by Scott E’s Blog at HCC on February 17th

Scott E

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