UPDATED: Harrell shares details on virus fight

Testing at Walmart three days a week

CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County Health Officer Roger Harrell shared the latest numbers in the local COVID-19 battle on Tuesday evening. The meeting and public comments were conducted via teleconference, to maintain safe distancing.

Mr. Harrell said the total tally of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Dorchester since the beginning of the pandemic stood at 122. “That’s held steady for the last three days. We haven’t seen an increase,” Mr. Harrell said.

“Walmart is going to open up…with their testing. They’re doing a pilot program for first responders and health-care folks on Thursday,” he said. “The more we test, the more we know.”

A statement from Walmart released Wednesday said, “Attention Cambridge Maryland and surrounding areas. Your Cambridge Walmart will begin offering FREE Covid 19 testing. Testing will take place Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. in the back of our parking lot (Follow the directional Signing). To pre-register, go to DoINeedaCovid19Test.com. This testing starts Friday May 22.”

Of the 122 cases, Mr. Harrell said 49 were related to the poultry plants, primarily Amick Farms. Contact tracing has taken place in all cases.

The investigations involve asking the patients with whom they have associated, and then speaking with and testing those individuals. There have been 1,138 persons testing in Dorchester County’s contact tracing effort.

That means that 5.1 percent of the local population has been checked, the second-highest rate in the state. Wicomico County has tested 5.8 percent to lead the state, while Talbot has checked 2.1 percent of its population.

The state government’s plan calls for mass testing followed by contact tracing. “We in Dorchester are ready to do the contact tracing. I’ve brought the staff up internally, with existing staff, to give us the numbers of individuals we need to do that,” Mr. Harrell said.

As for businesses following the governor’s guidelines, Mr. Harrell said State’s Attorney Bill Jones and Chamber of Commerce President Bill Christopher have been cooperating with the Health Department’s educational work.

Council President Jay Newcomb (District 1) expressed his gratitude to Mr. Harrell, saying, “Thank you for all you and your staff are doing.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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