Coronavirus Spread In Harford County: See Your Risk Of Exposure

Elizabeth Janney

HARFORD COUNTY, MD — Since Maryland is in the middle of a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, state officials have asked residents not to gather with those in other households for Thanksgiving or other social events this month, given the high rate of infections. If they do, they are encouraged to wear masks.

"My advice would be to stay home," Maryland Health Secretary Robert H. Neall said at a Wednesday morning meeting of the state's joint COVID-19 task force. "Keep your gatherings to an absolute minimum."

Statewide guidelines call for limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to slow the spread of the coronavirus; the Maryland Department of Health issued an advisory against gatherings of more than 25 individuals in one location.

"To reduce the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health recommend canceling large gatherings and social distancing in smaller gatherings," Gov. Larry Hogan stated in his Nov. 10 executive order.

What Is Your Risk Of Exposure?

At an event with 10 people in Harford County, there's a 14 percent chance that someone at the event would have the virus, according to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.

Researchers from several universities have created the tool, which maps out the risk of coronavirus transmission for every jurisdiction nationwide, based on an event's size and location.

There's a 78 percent chance someone has the virus at a gathering of 100 people in Harford County, based on the data as of Wednesday.

The tool shows the estimated chance — between 0 and 100 percent — that you'll encounter at least one person with the coronavirus at an event in your jurisdiction. You can reduce the risk by wearing a mask, distancing and gathering outdoors in smaller groups, researchers said.

The tool looks at the risk of exposure based on the size of gatherings from 10 to 5,000 people.

As of Wednesday, here are the risks based in Harford County, according to the research:

  • At an event with 10 people in Harford County, there's a 14 percent chance that someone at the event would have the virus, according to the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool.

  • A gathering of 15 people comes with a 20 percent risk of exposure.

  • For a gathering size of 25 people, that chance increases to 31 percent.

  • A gathering of 50 people has a 53 percent chance that someone has the virus.

  • At a gathering of 100 people, there's a 78 percent chance someone has the virus.

  • At a gathering of 500, the chance is greater than 99 percent.

This is using a 5:1 ascertainment bias, meaning the researchers assume there are five times more cases than are being reported.

Two Georgia Institute of Technology professors led the creation of the project, and their team included researchers from Stanford University and the Applied Bioinformatics Laboratory.

"By default we assume there are five times more cases than are being reported," the research team said in a statement. "In places with less testing availability, that bias may be higher."

Use the COVID-19 "Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool" here.

Patch editors Amber Fisher and William Bornhoft contributed to this report.

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This article originally appeared on the Bel Air Patch