Calvert County Health Department

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Coronavirus

Update March 29, 2020 5:35 pm

Five newly confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in the last 24 hours among Calvert residents, bringing our confirmed number of cases to 14. For anyone checking the Maryland state website, it has frequently given incorrect numbers for Calvert and many other counties. Once again, the numbers reflect only those people with laboratory-confirmed cases and do not account for the many people who have been infected but were not tested for coronavirus.

The first person had exposures in Ocean City and the Calvert bowling alley on 3/11 (see previous post). This person is currently hospitalized. Due to the anticipated test result, contacts of this person have already been notified. Another person was at the bowling alley on 3/11 and is currently at home recovering. Contacts of this individual who are at potential risk of transmission are being personally notified.

One of the new cases resulted from travel out of state just prior to the domestic flight restrictions. This person is currently hospitalized. Other than immediate family members, this individual has not had contact with public during the time period of potential transmission.

Another person has no clear source of infection and no travel out of the county. There is no connection between this person and any other known cases. This is an example of why everyone should limit contact outside of their home to essential needs. This person also has not been in public settings since the period of potential viral transmission began. This person has not required hospitalization and is beginning to recover.

The remaining individual had previously been notified of contact with a patient diagnosed with coronavirus while he/she was on duty at a hospital OUTSIDE OF CALVERT. Further contact investigation is currently taking place.

March 27, 2020 7:15 pm

The Health Department has been notified of a 9th case of coronavirus. During an investigation this afternoon, it is likely that transmission occurred either on March 11th during the Wednesday Night Combo Bowling League at Lord Calvert Bowling Lanes in Huntingtown or at a group gathering in Ocean City two days later.
People who attended the gathering in Ocean City are being individually contacted.

For anyone who was present at the Lord Calvert Bowling alley the night of March 11th, or their close contacts, the Health Department recommends the following:
For those who currently have a cough, shortness of breath, or fevers:
Contact your primary care provider or an urgent care. 

  • Please call before going to any medical office office or urgent care.

For those who had a cough, shortness of breath or fevers between 3/13-3/26, but those symptoms have resolved:

  • Email the Calvert Health Department at Calvert.admin@maryland.gov with your contact information and a nurse will be in touch with you on Monday to get additional details.

Since it has been more than two weeks since the possible transmission at the bowling alley, for anyone who was present that night but has not developed any respiratory symptoms or fever, there is no ongoing risk of illness from potential exposure on March 11th

March 27, 2020 10:00 am

One additional Calvert resident was confirmed to have coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 8. This resident was contacted immediately after the lab result was available. Since the time this person was capable of transmitting the virus, his/her only contacts were with immediate family members and two other people. All contacts have been reached by Health Department nurses. None are ill, and all are self-isolating for 14 days.

Please keep in mind that Calvert is somewhat atypical in that 2/3 of our residents who are employed work outside of our county. This changes many factors both in exposure to infection and potential for transmission. Most of our residents work in St. Mary’s, Prince George’s County, Washington, DC, Anne Arundel, and Northern Virginia. Other than St. Mary’s, each of these jurisdictions have higher rates of infection than seen in Southern Maryland. This will likely contribute to additional cases in Calvert over the next upcoming weeks and months.

March 26, 2020 1:50 pm

The Health Department asks for patience as we do our best to update the public with statistics related to the coronavirus pandemic. Within the last 24 hours, four additional Calvert County residents were diagnosed with the virus. This brings the County’s total number of diagnosed cases to seven. None of these cases were related. No county residents have died as a result of coronavirus. Statewide, there was a 37% increase in reported cases yesterday. This increase represents a combination of greater community transmission over the past week and modest increases in the number of people being tested.

However, the true extent of virus spread remains unclear because relatively few people who should have been tested have actually been screened. This continues to be due to a nationwide shortage of testing kits and the lack of regional lab capacity to process the tests. It is very likely that hundreds of people have been infected with coronavirus in Southern Maryland this month, but most have had mild-to-moderate illnesses and gone undiagnosed.

As a result of the all but certain prevalence of coronavirus throughout the region, people should continue to take practical precautions. Avoid unnecessary public contact. Protect vulnerable family members and neighbors by offering to go to the grocery store or pharmacy for them. Keep children away from elderly relatives. Use video technology (FaceTime, Skype, etc.) to stay in touch with others.

We realize that some members of the community have been frustrated by the lack of real-time updates on cases. Please understand that our already understaffed agency has received no increase in staffing to handle all of the dramatically increased responsibilities brought on by this pandemic. Every newly diagnosed case needs to be thoroughly evaluated by our clinical staff to make sure that individual, his or her family, and potentially exposed members in the community are receiving proper care and instructions. The Health Department receives non-stop calls from healthcare providers, county agencies, and members of the public requesting advice. We have been the hub of distribution for personal protective equipment for local healthcare providers, nursing facilities, and other essential service providers. We are dealing with frequently changing state and federal mandates affecting everything from health guidance to personnel matters . Many of our staff have shifted to remote work, placing enormous burden on our IT staff. And the list could go on and on, but you get the idea.

We are in the process of revamping our website to provide quicker updates on the number of cases in Calvert and across Maryland. But please keep in mind that these are only the verified cases and do not account for the many additional infections that have gone undetected due to testing shortages. We are also working on a better method of organizing coronavirus web resources for members of the community. We hope to have this functional within the next few days. Again, thank you for your patience as we all work toward keeping our community healthier and safer.

Update March 25, 2020 8:54 pm

An extremely unusual situation has developed over the past five days. The Calvert Health Department has always been truthful with the information we provide. In the interest of transparency, we are notifying you of the following events that have occurred in relation to the 7-11 on Hallowing Point Road.

On March 21st, a person connected to the store was tested for coronavirus. This individual falsified a positive result, leading to a temporary store closure and a swirl of social media conjecture. The result from this test is still pending. The lab to which it was sent to has a current wait time of nearly 10 days. In other words, at the present time it is not know whether that person does or does not have coronavirus.

Before it was realized that the initial report was falsified, another person who works at the store was tested by their family doctor. This test went to a different lab with a much faster turnaround time. That test was reported today did show coronavirus.

Given the very unexpected turn of events, both the store owner and the 7-11 corporation have decided that it’s in the best interest of public health to close the store on Hallowing Point Road and another Calvert store, under the same ownership, located in Prince Frederick. These stores will stay closed for 14 days as per CDC guidance to prevent transmission.

The situation was discussed with the Director of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Maryland Department of Health who agreed with the decision.

Employees are being contacted individually to provide appropriate health precautions. Given the limited amount of direct contact most customers have in a convenience store, the potential for customers to have acquired coronavirus in either store is very low. However, customers who entered either store between March 12th-25th are advised to contact their personal health care provider if they develop any respiratory symptoms or fevers. For those who have no symptoms, over the next two weeks, they should take additional precautions of washing their hands frequently and they may want to avoid contact with people over age 60 and people of any age with weakened immune systems.

The Calvert Health Department will continue to monitor employees’ health over the next 14 days and provide updates if new information becomes available.

March 25, 2020

This morning (March 25) the 4th Calvert County case of coronavirus infection was confirmed. This person is currently recovering at home. As with previous cases, Calvert Health Department nurses have obtained detailed health and contact histories from this person within one hour of notification from the testing laboratory. Our nurses have already reached out to those who had sufficient contact to put them at risk of becoming infected.

The Health Department staff understands how concerning this epidemic is to everyone across Calvert. Regardless of time of day or day of the week, our staff is immediately responding to all positive test results. Our ongoing goal is to notify those at elevated risk of infection as quickly as possible, so those people take appropriate precautions to isolate themselves per CDC guidelines. Along with everyone in the general public limiting contact with others, washing their hands frequently, and staying home if they develop any respiratory symptoms or fevers, we will minimize the spread of coronavirus and prevent severe illnesses and deaths.

Social media continues to churn with posts about individuals who are supposedly infected with coronavirus and settings in which people could have been infected. Most of these posts have been wrong and are leading to unnecessary stress in our community. The Health Department is asking people not to propagate unfounded rumors.

The health and safety of everyone in Calvert is critically important to us. The Health Department staff, along with our families, are part of the Southern Maryland community. We have a professional, ethical duty to provide the most timely and accurate information to everyone. We will continue to personally contact those at increased risk as a result of exposure to confirmed cases of coronavirus infection. At the same time, we have a legal obligation to protect confidential health information. As a result, information on specific cases that is not necessary to protect those at direct risk will not be provided via our website or social media posts.

We hope everyone understands that we are all in this together. That applies to both our physical and emotional well-being. Younger, healthier people should offer to get groceries and medication for family and neighbors who are more at risk of severe illness. For those on social media, stick with verifiable information pertaining to coronavirus and look for funny or calming posts to lift people’s spirits, especially on rainy days like today with so many people are stuck at home.

Please take care of yourselves and those around you. We’d also like to give recognition to the Emergency Department staff, respiratory therapists, and others at Calvert Medical Center as well as EMS workers as they take care of patients during this pandemic. The Health Department will continue to provide updates as they become available.

March 22, 2020

A second Calvert resident has been confirmed to have coronavirus infection. This person did not have any travel outside of the Southern Maryland region over the past month, reinforcing the potential that anyone can become infected through routine contact within our state.

This person has had no contact with vulnerable populations such as those in nursing facilities or daycares. Within 1 hour of being notified of the diagnosis, the Calvert Health Department staff was able to reach each individual who could have been potentially exposed to coronavirus by this individual. Everyone who may be at risk of infection as a result of this exposure is under isolation for a full 14 days.

It is acknowledged that due to the nationwide shortage of test kits, most people who have been infected with coronavirus have gone undiagnosed. Some of these people have no symptoms but can still transmit the infection to others. As Dr. Antony Fauci of the White House Coronavirus Task Force announced yesterday, there is a major national effort to ramp up production of testing material. Once that is accomplished, plans are in place statewide for drive-through testing centers. We will keep you informed as more information becomes available.

Current test sites in Maryland have had very limited capacity to perform tests and have had to frequently shut down operations due to lack of supplies. Dr. Fauci emphasized that until more test kits are being produced, only those with significant illness should be tested.

We urge residents of Calvert to stay at home as much as possible. As this most recent case illustrates, you can become infected through routine contact in Southern Maryland. When you do go out for groceries or medication, wash your hands before leaving the house, use a sanitizing wipe on your shopping cart, and wash your hands again as soon as you return home. If possible, use a credit or debit card to avoid exchanging items with the cashier and please stand 6 feet away from the cashier. It's important to help protect grocery store and pharmacy employees. They are providing critical services for our community.

March 21, 2020

A resident from another county being treated at CalvertHealth Medical Center (CHMC) tested positive for coronavirus on 3/20/20. This patient has been transferred to a larger medical facility to receive ongoing care.

CMHC appropriately consulted with our local health department and the Director of the Maryland Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Outbreak Response Division of the Maryland Department of Health (MDH). All precautions recommended by the CDC and MDH are being followed to protect the health and safety of patients and staff at the hospital. The health department is directly notifying any members of the community who may have had contact with the infected individual.

Both CMHC and the Calvert Health Department realize the implications of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We are deeply vested in ensuring the best care possible for members of our community. We encourage you to do your part in minimizing further spread of the virus. Please stay home as much as possible. If you have medically frail family members or neighbors, avoid direct contact with them and offer to pick up their groceries and medications so they can avoid contact with the public.

March 19, 2020

The first diagnosed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Calvert County has been confirmed. The person with the infection is under medical care and is presently doing well. This person has had minimal contact with others since becoming infected. The family members of this individual are self-isolating themselves per CDC recommendations. Those few individuals outside of the immediate family who have any risk of becoming infected have been contacted by the health department are also self-isolating themselves.

The source of transmission for the Calvert resident was an out-of-state relative. Neither the Calvert resident nor the relative has had any contact with anyone in a local school, daycare, nursing facility, or any other vulnerable population.

We remind everyone to continue to take reasonable precautions against exposure including frequent handwashing, use of disinfectants on high-touch surfaces, and limiting exposure in public places as much as possible.

March 16, 2020

As responses to the coronavirus pandemic continue to evolve, we would like to be sure that owners, managers and employees of restaurants, bars, movie theatres and gyms/fitness centers are aware of Governor Hogan’s recent Executive Order calling for closure of those establishments until further notice with the following exception:

The Executive Order allows carry-out food service (only when promptly taken from the premises), drive-thru service, and delivery of food.

The order also prohibits any gathering of more than 50 people, including social events/weddings, block parties, club or civic meetings, sports events, and religious services during this unprecedented time.

Information can be found on the Governor's website:

https://governor.maryland.gov/2020/03/16/governor-hogan-orders-closure-of-bars-and-restaurants-announces-unprecedented-public-health-surge-to-combat-covid-19-crisis/


This order remains in effect until the state of emergency has been terminated by the Governor. Unfortunately, we cannot predict when this is likely to resolve. We understand that these are difficult times for many in our area. We will continue to update the situation as information becomes available.

March 16, 2020

The current recommendations from the CDC and the Maryland Board of Physicians is that anyone:
- 60 or older, or
- at any age with underlying immune system problems or chronic respiratory ailments contact your primary care provider if you have any symptoms of a respiratory infection. Together with their health care provider, they will decide if testing is needed. For those who meet current criteria, it is important to note that tests are available.

Do NOT call 911 or go to the emergency room unless there is a true health emergency.

For younger and otherwise healthy people, the recommendation for anyone with mild respiratory symptoms is to stay home until symptoms resolve. For younger, healthy people, testing is not recommended because the risk of infecting others is greater than the benefit of being tested. Regardless of age, if anyone has a respiratory infection that is getting progressively worse, they should contact their primary care provider.

Calvert County Health Department is doing everything possible to maintain full service to everyone who receives behavioral health care through our providers. We have every intention of keeping our doors open to those who depend on our services. We have been taking all necessary hygiene measures in our offices to minimize the risk of virus transmission. The Health Department asks that if any of our patients develop symptoms of a respiratory infection, they call our office so we can make sure they get proper care by phone without risking the health of others.

In the unlikely event that buildings need to temporarily close, the Calvert Health Department is planning ways to ensure people can access prescription refills and other vital needs via telehealth or phone lines.

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