Health Officer Expects Kent’s COVID-19 Rates to Catch Up To State, Discourages Thanksgiving Gatherings

Kent Health Officer William Webb. Kent Pilot File Photo

Gov. Larry Hogan reported worrisome state trends in COVID-19 infections this week in press conferences on Tuesday on Thursday, where in that 48 hour period the state’s positivity rate jumped from 5.24 percent to just shy of six percent, and the number of cases per 100,000 Marylanders rose from 19.8 to 23.5.

Hogan reported on Thursday that the state’s one day case rate had reached a record high of around 1,400, but as of Friday, Nov. 13 that number has jumped to a new record 1,869 in a 24-hour period, said Kent Health Officer Bill Webb in an interview with the Kent Pilot.

“This is all part of the anticipated fall surge,” he said. “Cases are picking up a lot more than they were before.”

He said the rising trend was anticipated as the weather gets colder and dryer and “people move indoors.” He said these conditions allow respiratory viruses to spread more easily.

While currently below the state average, Kent’s positivity rate rose from 1.1 to 3.1 percent in the last 24 hours and Webb expects Kent’s rate to catch up with the state as the fall surge continues. 

“Our numbers have been remarkably good but we know it’s just a matter of time,” Webb said. 

He said Shore Health in Chestertown is reporting availability of seven acute care beds and two ICU beds as of Nov. 11. 

Webb encouraged all residents to get flu shots in order to reduce the strain on health care facilities during the expected surge in COVID-19 infections.

“Every individual in Kent is responsible for flattening the curve with social distancing, frequent hand washing, wearing masks, avoiding social gatherings and staying at home if you don’t have to go anywhere.”

He also strongly discouraged large family gatherings over Thanksgiving holiday “except for the individuals you actually live with.”

Webb said Kent Health officials would continue to perform spot inspections of restaurants and bars to make sure social distancing and sanitation guidelines are being followed. He said citations would be issued for violations.

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