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Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center address recent spike in COVID-19 Cases

Oakland, MD- Garrett County has seen a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, with an infection rate now above the state average. The recent spike has been linked through contract tracing conducted by the Garrett County Heath Department to an increase in social gatherings among friends and family.

“We were fortunate to have maintained a relatively low infection rate through much of the pandemic,” said Kendra Thayer, Senior Vice President of Patient Services. “However, this has now changed and it is critical that we take the proper precautions to control further spread of the virus. The potential for a spike that would strain our local healthcare system is a serious concern as we enter into flu season. The use of a masks, social distancing, limited gatherings, and hand hygiene are critical to ensure the safety of our community.”

At this time there is no vaccine and no medication that can prevent COVID-19. However, there are ways to protect yourself and others from getting the virus:

  • Cover your mouth and nose area with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing, even when masked.
  • Wash your hands many times a daywith soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Alwayswear a cloth face mask or face cover when around other people.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from other people who are not in your household, even if you are wearing a mask.
  • Do not share personal items such as cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding. Wash anything you have used in soap and water.
  • Clean all “high-touch” areas in the home, such as doorknobs, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, toilets, phones, tablets, and counters and other surfaces. Use a household cleaning spray and follow instructions for use.
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop any symptoms or think you have been exposed, call your health care provider immediately.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the community, everyone should continue to practice social distancing. This applies to people of all ages, including young people, teenagers, and children. While anyone can get sick, not everyone has the same risk of serious illness from COVID-19. Older people and people with existing health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

Everyone can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help protect those who are most vulnerable. These tips can help you and others stay safe:

  • Check the Garrett County Health Department website for local information on COVID-19 and follow all guidelines.
  • Anytime you go out of the house, always wear a face mask and practice social distancing.
  • Avoid crowded places and gatherings where it may be difficult to stay at least 6 feet away from others who are not from your household.
  • Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine unless they cannot for medical reasons.