UPDATED: What Happens When A Positive COVID-19 Case Is Confirmed? Worcester Now Has 21 Cases

UPDATED: What Happens When A Positive COVID-19 Case Is Confirmed? Worcester Now Has 21 Cases
A snip of the State of Maryland's coronavrius website shows a new zip code breakdown.

SNOW HILL – As COVID-19 cases continue to increase locally, Commissioner Chip Bertino reminds citizens that health officials have procedures in place to respond to the pandemic.

“We are all concerned about the COVID-19 virus and what impact it is having on our community,” Bertino said. “Many have contacted me sharing their concerns and frustrations. We’ll all be glad when this is over.”

As of Tuesday, there were 21 COVID-19 cases in Worcester County, according to Maryland’s coronavirus website. The site is now breaking down the number of cases by zip code as well, listing 10 in the 21811 area.

“The state is only releasing case numbers by zip code if that area has more than eight positive COVID-19 cases,” said Travis Brown, public affairs officer for the Worcester County Health Department. “These are reported cases, not everyone is being tested – only the most ill cases are being tested. Other cases with milder symptoms would not be reflected in the data, so do not consider one area of the county as less risk than any other just because of the case counts or map data. COVID is considered widespread in MD. We should all be acting like we have it, or our neighbors do. Everyone needs to be practicing social distancing, good hand hygiene, infection control practices.”

Bertino said that in response to all of the inquiries he was getting from community members, he reached out to Worcester County Health Officer Becky Jones for more information on the county’s procedures when someone tests positive for the virus.

“Our Communicable Disease nursing staff conducts an intensive investigation including interviewing the positive case and any contacts—who are then contacted and interviewed,” Bertino said. “The positive case and any identified contacts are then followed by our Isolation and Quarantine team until they are released from Public Health monitoring. Due to privacy regulations, no identifying information can be released regarding any positive cases or contacts.”

Bertino said the Department of Health and Human Services had privacy rules to protect health information.

“So far in Worcester County, when a work history has been identified by any of our positive cases, the management/employer has been extremely cooperative in the investigation process,” Bertino said. “The Health Department certainly recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging time for everyone.”

The Worcester County Health Department continues to promote simple ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as handwashing and social distancing. Citizens are asked to avoid crowds and stay home except for essential travel. The department recommends covering your nose and mouth with some sort of face mask if you do have to go out. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has also created a “Rumor Control” website to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the pandemic.

“The health department I believe has been doing an excellent job to ensure county residents stay safe,” Bertino said. “But in fact, it’s up to all of us to adhere to health safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. By each of us doing our part, the quicker we’ll be able to return to our regular lives.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.