CUMBERLAND — Allegany County received national attention this week for its rapidly growing COVID-19 case rates.
The New York Times reported that per capita, Allegany County “has the worst outbreak in Maryland, and the Cumberland region has the 14th-highest number of recent cases per capita of any metro area in the country.”
Meanwhile, local obituaries stated that people died at UPMC Western Maryland due to complications from COVID-19.
People including Shirley Ann Custer, 78, of Barton.
“She was a member of the Barton American Legion 189 Auxiliary, where she held the title of president for many years, and held other various offices within the organization,” the obit stated. “She worked and retired from the Allegany County Board of Education.”
And Mary Katherine Wilson, 90, of Westernport.
“She helped her late husband, Carl Wilson, with Jake’s Lounge and became co-owner of Jake’s Service Station following his death,” the obit stated. “Mary’s family was her life. Very few Sundays were ever spent without family and friends at her dinner table. Everyone was always welcome.”
The Maryland Department of Health confirmed the virus has killed more than 60 people in Allegany County, and that number is expected to increase.
“Infections, virus hospitalizations and deaths are all on the rise across the country,” The Washington Post reported.
Wednesday was the 33rd consecutive day that the United States set a new record in its seven-day average of reported cases, according to data compiled and analyzed by the Post.
“Nearly 90,000 people are currently in hospitals with COVID-19, another record,” The Washington Post reported.
UPMC Western Maryland officials, as well as the Allegany County Health Department, have not answered past questions from the Cumberland Times-News, including requests for specific COVID-19 case numbers, patient transfers and infections among staff members.
MDH Friday reported 2,378 new cases and 22 additional deaths from the disease across the state in the past 24 hours.
The statewide daily COVID-19 positivity rate was 6.3%, with Allegany County at 15.34%, and Garrett County at 12.93%.
Allegany County topped Maryland’s seven-day moving average COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people by jurisdiction at 170.42, followed by Garrett County at 122.6, compared to the statewide figure of 37.21.
As of late Friday afternoon, the ACHD had not provided the county’s latest number of new cases.
The Garrett County Health Department reported 18 new COVID-19 cases since Wednesday, bringing the county’s total positives to 702.
The breakdown of new cases by age ranges is:
- 5.6% (1 case) ages 0-20
- 22.2% (4 cases) ages 21-40
- 16.7% (3 cases) ages 41-60
- 11.1% (2 cases) ages 61-80
- 44.4% (8 cases) ages 81-100+
GCHD also reported that 53% of hospital beds were occupied at Garrett Regional Medical Center.
Local testing events are being planned and will be announced.
Garrett County Commissioners recently created several business assistance grant programs. To learn more, call Kim Durst at 301-334-1992 or email email@example.com.
Garrett LCB issues new COVID-19 policy
The Garrett Liquor Control Board adopted a temporary COVID-19 policy for establishments, which the state has limited to 50% capacity, to comply with Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive orders, and guidelines from MDH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The liquor control board is responsible for issuing alcoholic beverage licenses at the retail level and enforcement of state and local laws, rules, and regulations governing retail sales.
According to the new policy, face masks that fully cover a person’s nose and mouth must be worn by all staff and patrons unless actively eating or drinking.
“Masks must be worn outside unless social distancing can be observed,” it states of patrons.
All service must be to seated patrons only and there will be no standing or congregating at a bar or outside areas of the establishments.
“Unless people come in together, they cannot be seated together,” the policy states. “Meeting up at the establishment is not coming in together.”
Bar stools and tables must be 6 feet apart with no more than six people seated at each table.
Tables will be regularly sanitized, and sanitizer will be readily available for staff and patrons.
“Garrett County agencies, both state and local, will be strictly enforcing these COVID-19 related restrictions over the coming days,” the policy states.
Non-compliance includes a no-contest letter and $250 fine for a first violation. A second violation will go before the LCB for a decision and fine amount determination.
“Three or more violations will result in an automatic suspension of the license,” the policy states. “Additionally, other charges and penalties may be incurred from other agencies.”