CDC: Allegany County at 'high' COVID-19 community level

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Jul. 29—CUMBERLAND — Allegany County had Maryland's highest weekly COVID-19 rate Friday, and moved into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "high" category for community level of the virus.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, the seven-day moving average COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people was 27.13 statewide, 46.66 in Allegany County, 22.65 in Garrett County and 25.82 in Washington County.

The daily case rate was 10.52% statewide, 17.33% in Allegany County, 17.8% in Garrett County and 16.08% in Washington County.

"The county is now one of only three Maryland jurisdictions, including Kent and Wicomico counties in the eastern part of the state, classified by the CDC as having a high COVID-19 community level," the Allegany County Health Department said via press release Friday. "The majority of the state is currently in the medium classification for COVID community level, with just five counties still considered low."

COVID-19 community levels in Garrett and Washington counties Friday were medium.

The CDC recommends people in areas with high COVID-19 community levels wear a mask indoors in public, remain up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if symptoms present, take additional precautions if at high risk for severe illness, and stay home and away from others except to seek medical care if sick.

COVID-19 testing and vaccinations

MDH Friday reported 1,913 new COVID-19 cases, no additional deaths and 12 fewer hospitalizations across the state.

The Allegany County Health Department offers COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesdays on the first floor of its offices at 12501 Willowbrook Road.

Vaccinations are available for ages 12 and older from 9 a.m. to noon, and ages 5 to 11 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Parents of children younger than age 5 should contact their child's physician to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination, ACHD stated.

Free drive-thru COVID-19 testing is held at the Allegany County Fairgrounds, 11400 Moss Ave., from 2 to 7 p.m. Mondays and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays.

"Pre-registration is preferred for both testing and vaccinations," ACHD stated.

Learn more at health.maryland.gov/allegany and covidlink.maryland.gov.

New vaccine next week

MDH Friday said Marylanders 18 years and older are eligible to receive a primary series of the newly authorized Novavax COVID-19 vaccine.

"The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is protein-based," MDH said via press release. "Protein-based vaccines have been used for decades to combat diseases including hepatitis B and influenza. In a 30,000-participant clinical trial, the two-dose vaccine was 90% effective at preventing illness from COVID-19."

On July 19, the CDC approved the Novavax vaccine for adult use.

"The Novavax vaccine will begin to arrive in Maryland as early as this week," MDH stated and added that it should be available throughout the state beginning Monday.

The U.S. government secured 3.2 million Novavax vaccine doses, which are given as a two-dose primary vaccination series.

Maryland ordered more than 8,000 doses for distribution statewide to health care providers, pharmacists and local health departments that requested the vaccine.

"We welcome yet another vaccine for Maryland adults to protect themselves against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19," MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader said via the release.

"For people who want a more traditional option, the Novavax vaccine is an ideal and exciting new opportunity for Marylanders to stay COVIDReady."

Teresa McMinn is the Digital Editor for the Cumberland Times-News. She can be reached at 304-639-2371 or tmcminn@times-news.com.