Coronavirus community transmission crosses 'substantial' threshold in Frederick County

·2 min read

Aug. 3—The level of coronavirus transmission in Frederick County is now considered "substantial" by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, crossing the threshold at which the public health agency recommends that everyone — regardless of vaccination status — resume masking in public indoor settings.

As of Tuesday, the county's seven-day positivity rate was 4.04 percent, a jump from Monday's rate of 3.88 percent and well above low marks from earlier this summer. The community added 23 more coronavirus cases, continuing an upward trend it has been experiencing in recent weeks that has also been reflected across the country.

Maryland's overall seven-day positivity rate was 3.38 percent on Tuesday. As of Tuesday evening, 12 of the state's 23 counties and Baltimore had transmission levels considered substantial by the CDC. On Monday, only seven counties had transmission levels categorized as such. Dorchester County remained the only jurisdiction with a transmission level considered high by the CDC.

Just before 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Fort Detrick's Twitter account announced the military base and Silver Spring's Forest Glen Annex had reached levels of substantial transmission of the virus. As a result, masks must be worn at all indoor locations at the two sites, regardless of vaccination status, the tweet read.

Frederick County's Health Department couldn't immediately provide comment Tuesday night. A spokesman said he would be sharing information about the county's new transmission status Wednesday morning.

The CDC announced new guidelines for fully vaccinated people last week, citing concern over the increased circulation of the highly contagious delta variant, which is now the dominant strain in the country, as well as Maryland and the Frederick County area. The agency pointed to preliminary data, which suggests fully vaccinated people who become infected with the strain can pass the virus to others.

On Monday, Frederick County Health Department spokesman Shawn Dennison shared that more than 65 percent of disease specimens sequenced that were collected from Frederick County residents were due to the delta variant. The strain is estimated to be about 255 times more contagious than the original coronavirus strain and appears to cause more severe illnesses than previous variants. It spreads as easily as chickenpox and appears to be more contagious than Ebola or the common cold, according to reporting from The Washington Post on data shared within the CDC.

As of Tuesday, 58.7 percent of the county's total population was fully vaccinated. That mark was 71.7 percent for residents 12 years and older — the population currently eligible to get a shot. So far this week, 99 people have gotten their first dose of the vaccine and 95 became fully vaccinated.

There were eight people hospitalized due to the virus in the county as of Monday.

Follow Angela Roberts on Twitter: @24_angier

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