Although Charles County didn’t receive its COVID-19 vaccines last week due to inclement weather and consequently wasn’t able to host vaccination clinics, Charles Health Officer Dr. Dianna Abney said the county did receive a double shipment on Monday, Feb. 22.
Abney spoke during the Charles County commissioners’ Feb. 23 meeting.
During that meeting, Michelle Lilly, the county’s director of emergency services, noted that the county’s case rate per 100,000 continues to decline. It has gone from 28.6 to 23.1 to 16.6 in the last three weeks. This is still higher than the state’s average of 14.1, but well below the peak high of 42.5 cases in Charles recorded on Jan. 11.
The county’s virus test positivity rate also has declined from 8% to 6.8% to 6% during that time period. The state is at 4.1%.
Over the past four weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in the county have dropped from 429 to 323 to 264 to 190, officials said.
Although 59% of those vaccinated in the county are white and 30% Black, Abney noted that these figures aren’t too far off from the percentages of those 65 and older, which are 60.2% and 33.8%, respectively. Overall, though, Black residents make up 50% of the population in Charles.
Abney suggested that those who can’t observe a 6-foot social distancing recommendation consider double masking for more protection against the coronavirus.
County spokeswoman Jennifer Harris noted that, in addition to the county’s hotline for vaccine information and appointments, the state set up its own hotline earlier this month at 855-MD-GO-VAX. The county number is 301-609-6717.
Bill Grimes, vice president of ancillary services at Charles Regional Medical Center, said they’re seeing a “slow and steady decline of COVID-19 patients.” The hospital continues vaccinating employees and others, focusing on the state’s groups 1A and 1B, he said.
For all of the good news, state health data shows that Charles is ranked next-to-last behind Prince George’s County when it comes to vaccinating its population, however. As of Feb. 21, only 8.3% of Charles’ population had received the first vaccine. This represents 13,530 people out of 163,257. Prince George’s has vaccinated 6% of its population.
Regionally, Calvert had vaccinated 13.8% of its population and St. Mary’s 12.8%. The state average is 11.5%.