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Yesterday was somewhat dreary, with limited periods of sun.  Today will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 56 degrees and a chance of showers throughtout the day and evening. East wind from 15 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20% and the low will be around 40.

Wow! Most high school students volunteer just enough to reach the required number of service learning hours, but Madison Prudnick isn’t like most students.  Madison volunteered for more than 700 hours at Partners After School @ Oakland during her 4-years at Southern High School. We wanted to thank and congratulate Madison on her stellar efforts and wish her our best as she begins her college career at Mount. St. Mary’s University in the Fall.

We heard from reader Patti M. with a question as to the status of Autumn Glory this year. The short answer is, we do not know at this time.  I have been asking around about that event and others and it appears leaders are taking a “wait and see” approach to making a final call. I think we all hope events such at Autumn Glory, Art and Wine and others are held, but we will have to wait for an answer as managers of those events process available information and make a decision. We will let you know as soon as we find out.

The Garrett County landfill, located at 3118 Sang Run Road, will be closed on Monday, May 25th for the Memorial Day holiday. Note, the six county collection sites will be open from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm that day. Also, full-service Saturdays at the landfill will resume for the season this Saturday. The scales will be open 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. You can contact Dave Baker at 301.387.0322 with any questions.

The Greater Oakland Business Association (GOBA) has some messages they shared with us yesterday:

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the GOBA Board has decided to postpone their Annual Dinner to later in October. It will be conducted as normal with a PowerPoint of the year in review and the celebration of any Oakland Business Milestones. The Asa McCain Spirit of Oakland Award will also be presented at this time. Sign ups for the annual dinner will come out with the Asa McCain Spirit nominations and voting information later in the year.

The GOBA Event Committee has decided to postpone the Kick Off to Summer Event, initially scheduled for June 20th, 2020. The committee will be meeting soon to come up with additional approaches for “events” downtown. Standby for more information about this event towards the end of the summer or perhaps some virtual events happening sooner.

There have been some questions “around town” relative to COVID-19 case reporting.  To address those questions the County issued a press release yesterday with explanations for any changes/deviations and I am repeating it here verbatim in case any readers have questions:

Why You Might See County COVID-19 Numbers Go Up and Down – By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team

If you have been watching the numbers on the Maryland COVID-19 Data Dashboard over the last few days you have seen the numbers for Garrett County go up and back down several times. There are many reasons why the numbers could change.

First of all, the numbers on the map are preliminary. In fact, below the map it says, “All data are preliminary and are subject to change based on additional reporting.” In Maryland, the numbers on the map are generated from a database where all the COVID-19 tests are reported. Once a positive case shows up in the database, staff at the health department for the county where the positive case is assigned begin to investigate the case.

Here are some of the issues that may cause a case to be assigned to the wrong county:

  • An incorrect address may have been recorded at the testing site and reported to the state.
  • The patient may have two different homes, in two different states. Research is needed to determine which is the primary residence.
  • Sometimes a person is tested a second time, and the case needs to be removed to avoid counting it a second time.
  • The automated system may mistakenly assign a case to the wrong county.

Why is it important to get it right? Because the county of primary residence is responsible for contact tracing, the process that finds close contacts of a positive case and lets them know that they need to quarantine so they don’t spread the virus if they have been infected. When a case needs to be transferred to another county, or another state, there is often a delay of a day or two before the case is changed on the map. Once the preliminary investigation is completed, the testing results are counted in the county of primary residence.

Key staff at both the local and state level are paying close attention to, and immediately investigating, any positive COVID-19 results. Information is shared across county and state lines as necessary to protect residents and health care workers in this ongoing pandemic, while safeguarding the privacy of anyone testing positive for COVID-19.

Another question many are asking is why the data doesn’t show up for any Garrett County zip codes. Again, the explanation is under the map, where it says, “Data for ZIP codes with 7 or fewer cases are suppressed.” None of the Garrett Counties zip codes show up in the reports, because the county does not have any zip codes with enough cases to show up on the list. The zip codes for low number locations are not reported to prevent specifically identifying a positive case within a small community.

Accurate COVID-19 information is critical to the community. Please visit the Health Department COVID-19 Dashboard at garretthealth.org/covid-19-information/ for current and accurate information about the situation.