A new state-run Covid-19 testing site opened this week at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, adding another option for people who think they may have contracted the highly contagious coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, the free tests are now being administered at the site Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the corner of Waverly Drive and Vine Street in a hospital parking lot. It will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
Operated by the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland National Guard, the Salisbury location is one of several hospital-based testing sites that have opened across the state in recent weeks as Covid cases surged following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Since then, new cases and hospitalizations have started to decrease a bit, but Wicomico County still reported 500 new cases and eight more deaths over the past week.
As of Tuesday, there were 44 Covid patients at TidalHealth Peninsula Regional, compared to about 70 who were hospitalized a week ago.
Health officials have continued to stress the importance of testing and vaccinations in controlling the spread of the virus.
In addition to the TidalHealth site, the Wicomico County Health Department holds free Covid testing clinics at the Wicomico Civic Center on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ups are welcome. To schedule, call 410-341-4600.
The Health Department also holds Covid vaccination clinics at the civic center on Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays 1 to 3:30 p.m. Appointments or walk-ins are welcome. To schedule call 410-341-4600 or register online at marylandvax.org.
The health departments in Somerset and Worcester counties also hold regular testing and vaccination clinics. Visit coronavirus.maryland.gov for vaccine and testing locations.
Home testing kits are being distributed by the Health Ddepartment at local libraries and other locations, but are in short supply. The federal government also is making tests available to every home in the United States. To order the free tests, visit covidtests.gov. Orders will usually ship in seven to 12 days.
For anyone testing positive with Covid, health officials recommend they contact their primary care doctor as soon as possible. There are two effective anti-viral drugs available by prescription, but they need to be taken within five days of the onset of the disease.
Positivity rate drops
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that Maryland’s Covid-19 positivity rate has dropped below 10 percent, as the state continues to report substantial declines in key health metrics.
“For the second straight day, our positivity rate is in single digits, another sign of the encouraging progress we are making,” said Hogan. “While we are emerging from the Omicron wave faster than just about any state, we continue to urge Marylanders to take precautions, and most importantly, get a booster shot.”
Since peaking in January just below 30 percent, the state’s Covid-19 positivity rate has declined by nearly 70 percent to 9.04 percent. Maryland is reporting the country’s fifth lowest positivity rate.
Maryland continues to report the lowest case rate of any state, and the case rate has declined by 81.9 percent since peaking last month.
Since peaking last month at 3,462, Maryland’s Covid-19 hospitalizations have declined by more than 50 percent and continue to decline at the fastest rate in the United States.
The state has now administered more than 11 million Covid-19 vaccinations, including more than 2 million booster shots, and 94.6 percent of Maryland adults have received at least one dose. To find a vaccine clinic, visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call the state’s multilingual call center, available seven days a week, at 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).
As of Tuesday, the case count in Wicomico County now stands at 18,366 compared to 17,866 last week and 16,924 the week before that. Deaths in the county now stand at 294, eight more than last week.
The patient count in Somerset is now 4,872 with 66 deaths, three more since last week. Additional cases have also been confirmed in Worcester County, which now reports 8,158 people as having had the virus and 144 deaths, four more since last week.
Statewide in Maryland, 956,780 cases have been confirmed, with 13,276 confirmed deaths and 256 probable deaths. The current hospitalization totals of people with the virus stands at 1,678 compared to 2,361 last week. The number of people in intensive care is 318, down from 433 last week.
Across Maryland, more than 6.9 million people have tested negative for the virus.
As of Monday, the state has administered more than 11 million doses of vaccine, with more than 4.3 million people now fully vaccinated and 94.6 percent of the adult population with at least one dose.
Nationally, there are now more than 74.9 million cases with 886,704 deaths. Roughly 211.7 million people in the U.S. – 64 percent of the population -- are fully vaccinated.