HARFORD COUNTY, Maryland (WJZ) – Upper Chesapeake Medical Center reported close capacity rates on Friday.
“We are concerned,” said Barry Glassman, Harford County Manager. “The numbers are approaching the high numbers we saw before vaccinations about a year and a half ago. “
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Although the state-run COVID-19 dashboard is partly down due to a recent hack, hospitalizations due to COVID infections are still being reported.
“We are currently still tracking our hospital numbers, so we know we have about 60 people in our two hospitals who have been admitted,” Glassman said. “Half of them, around 30, are in intensive care.”
The county executive also added that 75% of people recently hospitalized are not vaccinated.
“It is quite obvious with the new variants and so on, that we will have to deal with and manage that in everyday life: in the school system, the hospital system and in the general public”, a- he declared. “The vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective, they are ready and available when you are and I would say now is the time to make that decision before we get into what is shaping up to be a tough winter.”
As hospitals brace for a second wave after the next two major vacations, the county’s school system is renewing its COVID mitigation efforts to slow the spread.
Nine schools are experiencing a school-wide epidemic, according to Harford County Schools.
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The state has defined a school-wide epidemic as at least three classrooms or cohorts with cases from households separated in 14 days; or 5% of unrelated students, teachers or staff (at least 10 unrelated) test positive for COVID within 14 days.
The state updated the number of COVID cases in schools across the state on Wednesday.
According to the site, Youth’s Benefit Elementary School in Fallston leads Maryland in positive cases with 110.
Three other schools in the county have also reported 20 or more cases, including Jarrettsville Elementary, Fountain Green Elementary and Harford Technical High School.
Schools on the list will be removed after two weeks have passed with no new cases or pending tests, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
Schools in Harford County are implementing social distancing and hosting virtual meetings when possible.
The Harford County Department of Health is offering free rapid test kits before the Christmas holidays.
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One kit per person will be distributed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, December 22 at the Woodbridge branch of the health department.