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By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

This week the Garrett County Health Department and Garrett Regional Medical Center ramped up their COVID-19 vaccination distribution as additional vaccine shipments reached the county. Following CDC recommendations, Garrett County’s frontline health care workers are the first ones receiving their first of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccinations.

“We are glad to be able to start the vaccination phase of addressing the pandemic.” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “Although our case numbers remain high, they are once again trending in the right direct. However, that doesn’t lessen our sorrow for those who have lost loved ones to this terrible disease.”

Garrett County’s statistics for today include:

· A total of 1,439 COVID-19 cases

· A total of 46 deaths due to COVID-19 or its complications

· A 7-day positivity rate of 13.3%, compared to Maryland’s rate of 8.2%

· A 7-day case rate per 100,000 of 48.7, compared to Maryland’s rate of 37.0

Free COVID-19 testing will continue weekly at the MEDCO Building in the McHenry Business Park. Testing is scheduled on Tuesdays from 9 am to12:30 pm and Thursdays from 10 am to 2 pm, including New Year’s Eve. Preregistration is recommended to speed up the process on the testing day. Visit garretthealth.org for preregistration information.

Anyone with COVID-19 like symptoms may call Health Department 301-334-7697 to schedule a testing appointment at the Oakland office.

Additional COVID-19 resources:

· Visit garretthealth.org for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.

· To schedule an Influenza vaccination, call the Health Department at 301-334-7697.

· For all other COVID-19 related questions, or to report a COVID-19 compliance issue, call the local COVID-19 Hotline number at 301-334-7698. · Visit covidlink.maryland.gov to learn more about the Maryland’s vaccination plan, review safety information about the vaccines, and get answers to frequently asked questions.