Spread in Garrett County COVID Cases Tied to Social Situations

By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

The Garrett County Health Department is currently doing an extensive round of contact tracing due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. This contact tracing and a review of the positive case statistics has revealed several important trends.

In a presentation to the local Health Planning Council and the Garrett County Commissioners on October 22, Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens provided the following COVID-19 update.

COVID-19 statistics were compared from October 10 to October 20:

  • County cases increased from 81 to 110
  • County positivity rate increased from 0.65% to 5.26%
  • Maryland positivity rate increased from 2.83% to 3.11%
  • County rate per 100,000 increased from 1.82 to 11.82
  • Maryland rate per 100,000 increased from 9.4 to 10.4

“Although Garrett County continues to remain the county with the lowest number of total cases in the state, we are on a bad trajectory,” said Stephens. “Our positivity rate and our rate per 100,000 persons are both higher than the state average for the first time since the pandemic started.”

Contact tracing continues to show the most recent spread is through social events, and not from an influx of visitors to the county.

“COVID is being spread through those places where people expect that it would not spread,” Stephens said. “The main spread is through family, close friends, and recreational activities where people are getting together and they feel much more comfortable. For the most part they are not following the guidelines of social distancing and wearing face coverings.”

“To reduce the spread of COVID-19, everyone needs to take the precautions we have been talking about since way back in March,” Stephens said. “Those measures include good hand hygiene, wearing face coverings, especially in indoor settings and all public places, and keeping a distance of six feet from individuals.”

“The other thing that is incredibly important is self-quarantining once someone begins to feel that they may be ill, or if they have come in contact with someone who has COVID-like symptoms,” Stephens said. “It is also a good idea to get a test as soon as possible.”