Health officials plan to shut down Covid-19 mass vaccination sites across Maryland – including the one in Salisbury -- as the state moves to expand its mobile clinics and offer shots through community-based organizations.
The site at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center is scheduled to close June 19, but it will continue to offer vaccinations through that date, said Dr. Jim Trumble, Vice President of Clinical Integration at TidalHealth and the Medical Director of the Mass Vax.
The operation at the civic center has already been scaled back by moving from the Normandy Arena to the smaller Midway Room. The hours also have been cut back to five days a week as the number of people wanting the vaccine has declined.
“There’s been a big drop-off,” Trumble said.
The site stopped administering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine at the end of May to get ready for the shutdown and is now only giving second doses of Pfizer. Anyone who shows up at the clinic now will receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, he said.
Once it closes, the Wicomico County Health Department will move its Covid clinics back to the civic center from the temporary location at the Centre at Salisbury, Trumble said.
State officials are now shifting their vaccination efforts to mobile clinics that will work to reach vulnerable populations, as well as people living in remote areas.
“That’s a particular problem on the Eastern Shore,” he said.
Wicomico County as well as neighboring Somerset County lag behind other parts of the state in vaccinations.
Trumble said most people who wanted a Covid vaccine have already gotten one. For the rest of the population, “That’s a bit of a tougher sell,” he said.
To find vaccination locations, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
No Arm Left Behind
Gov. Larry Hogan announced this week that the Maryland Department of Health is accepting applications from community-based organizations for the Community Covid-19 Vaccination Project. This project is part of the state’s “No Arm Left Behind” initiative to ensure vaccines are available to every Marylander who wants one.
As part of the project, MDH will award a total of $3 million to fund community-focused strategies to further increase Covid-19 vaccine confidence and vaccination access for residents in vulnerable, underserved, and hard-to-reach communities across the state.
“The Community Covid-19 Vaccination Project complements the ‘No Arm Left Behind’ initiative and the Vaccine Equity Task Force to expand our ground game and get even more Marylanders vaccinated,” said Hogan.
“The project will be a partnership between state health officials and community-based organizations that understand the unique needs and concerns of their residents. We encourage organizations to apply now to be part of the program,” he said.
MDH and its Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities will award grants to approximately 30 community-based organizations through the Community Covid-19 Vaccination Project. Award amounts will range from $50,000 to $250,000 to support vaccine education and outreach and establish community vaccination clinics.
MDH will prioritize applications that focus efforts in targeted ZIP codes with low vaccination rates.
“We are committed to further increasing vaccine uptake and responding to vaccine hesitancy in minority and vulnerable populations through community partnerships,” said state Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader.
“The funding from this project will support our successful strategy of strengthening trust in the vaccines by engaging in a more intimate and grassroots level with our communities,” he said.
Covid numbers improving
Hogan also announced that the state of Maryland is reporting its lowest level of Covid-19 hospitalizations since March 2020, another sign that the state is emerging from the pandemic.
“All of our key health metrics are at or nearing their lowest levels, while our vaccinations continue to outpace the country,” said Hogan.
“As we near the end of the pandemic, we continue to strongly encourage anyone who hasn’t gotten vaccinated yet to do so. It is the best way to protect yourself against getting sick from Covid-19 or spreading it to others,” he said.
Covid-19 hospitalization levels have fallen to 276—the lowest level since March 30, 2020. ICU levels have fallen to 67 — the second lowest level on record, and the lowest since March 26, 2020. Overall, hospitalizations have declined by 78% since mid-April.
Maryland is reporting 6.3 million Covid-19 vaccinations, and according to official CDC data, 71 percent of Maryland adults have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The state continues to far outpace the national rate of 63.5 percent.
The state’s seven-day Covid-19 positivity rate continues to set record lows, and has now fallen to 1.12 percent. Overall, the positivity rate has declined by 81% since mid-April. Across the state, 18 jurisdictions are reporting a positivity rate under 2 percent. Official data by jurisdiction is available at coronavirus.maryland.gov.
Latest local numbers
As of Tuesday, June 8, Wicomico County has had 7,696 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 172 deaths. Health officials also reported that 39,570 county residents have received the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, 34,366 have gotten a second dose and 3,200 got a Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine.
The patient count in Somerset is now 2,613 with 40 deaths. First doses of vaccine have gone to 8,767 residents, 7,316 have gotten second doses and 792 got single doses.
Additional cases have also been confirmed in Worcester County, which now reports 3,665 people as having the virus and 105 deaths. So far 26,635 people have gotten their first shots, 23,423 had a second dose and 2,184 got a single dose.
Dorchester County counts 2,839 cases, 64 deaths, 12,235 first doses of vaccine, 10,563 second shots and 1,971 single doses. There are 2,346 reported cases in Caroline County with 29 deaths, 11,517 first vaccinations, 10,187 second doses and 2,673 single doses.
Statewide in Maryland, 460,737 cases have been confirmed, with 9,438 confirmed deaths and 215 probable deaths. The current hospitalization totals of people with the virus stands at 275. The number of people in intensive care is 75.
Across Maryland, more than 3.5 million people have tested negative for the virus.
As of Tuesday, the state has administered more than 6.3 million doses of vaccine, with more than 3 million people now fully vaccinated.
Nationally, there are now more than 33.3 million cases with 598,094 deaths. Roughly 139.7 million people in the U.S. – 42.58 percent of the population -- are fully vaccinated.