Talbot reports 127 active infections as case count nears 400

Talbot County reported Monday, Aug. 3, nearly 130 of its residents are actively infected with the coronavirus. The county has tallied 369 confirmed cases to date, with about 240 of those having already recovered. Pictured is the drive-through COVID-19 test site at the Easton High School.

EASTON — Talbot County added 54 confirmed coronavirus cases to its count during the past week, making the county’s total tally 369 with nearly 130 active infections among residents, according to local health data.

Of the county’s almost 370 residents who are confirmed to have been infected with the coronavirus to date, 237 have recovered and 37 have required hospitalization, the health department reported Monday, Aug. 3.

Hospitalizations are up three from one week ago on Monday, July 27. Five Talbot residents are confirmed to have died of coronavirus-related illness since March.

State zip code data show Easton residents have accounted for nearly 80% of Talbot’s recorded COVID-19 cases, with 293 infections to date. St. Michaels residents have accounted for 5.4% with 20 infections and Trappe 4.6% with 17.

The locations of the remaining 10% of cases are unknown because the Maryland Department of Health does not disclose virus data for zip codes that are reporting fewer than seven confirmed cases.

Gov. Larry Hogan, in a news release Monday, acknowledged Talbot County’s ongoing high positivity rate. Hogan said Talbot is among five of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions that are reporting positivity rates greater than 5%.

According to state health data updated Monday morning, Talbot reported 5.03% of its total conducted coronavirus tests came back positive, based on a seven-day rolling average.

The county’s positivity rate decreased slightly from its reported 5.5% positivity rate on July 31 and 5.2% on Aug. 1. But Talbot spent nearly half of July reporting a positivity rate greater than 5%, and did not report a positivity rate below 2% during the entire month.

Talbot’s lowest percentage of positive tests recorded between July 1 and Aug. 1 was 2.5% on July 5, state data show. Its highest positivity rate was 8.8% on July 14.

The four other Maryland jurisdictions Hogan pointed out as having reported high positivity rates Monday are Baltimore County at 5.5%, Baltimore City at 6%, Charles at 5.4%, and Prince George’s County at 6.1%.

A jurisdiction’s positivity rate is significant because health experts have said such rates are a key indicator of whether the virus’s spread is being controlled in a given area. Hogan said Maryland’s statewide positivity rate has remained below 5% for more than a month since June 25.

Positivity rates tend to decline when a larger portion of a population is tested, but in Talbot County’s case, its high testing volume — fourth highest in Maryland — has not yielded a low positivity rate when compared to other jurisdictions.

According to state data, 7,633 Talbot residents have been tested for the virus to date. The Easton High School test site has facilitated 1,400 of those tests since it began operations on June 8, the county health department reported.

The EHS drive-through site operates from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tests are available exclusively to Talbot County residents by appointment only. The phone number to call to schedule an appointment at the site is 410-819-5632.

Tests come at no out-of-pocket cost to the individuals getting tested, but insurance will be billed for those who are insured. If a person does not have insurance, their test costs will be covered using funds allocated to the county through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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