UPDATE: 2 p.m. 3-23-20: Garrett County Health Department now reports there are three confirmed COVID-19 cases.

"Maryland reports COVID-19 cases by the patient’s place of residency and there are no new confirmed cases of persons who reside in Garrett County," GCHD said via press release. "Regardless of where a person resides, if a person is confirmed to have COVID-19, or certain other infectious diseases, public health professionals complete contact tracing to determine who else may be at risk."

Contact tracing is standard procedure for many communicable diseases, Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens stated.

"Our staff does this to assure that our community is safe regardless of the residency of a sick individual,” he said. “Our staff has been working overtime in order to protect the community.”

Garrett County has no current proof of community transmission.

"All local cases were most likely infected elsewhere," the release states. "Only one of the cases is hospitalized, and is currently at WVU Medicine in Morgantown. All other positive cases have been self-isolating since they were tested."

BACKGROUND

OAKLAND — Five positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Garrett County on Tuesday.

The latest two people with the disease have been self-isolating since they were tested, according to Garrett County Health Department Public Information Officer Diane Lee.

None of the five confirmed cases in Garrett County were infected through community transmission, she said via press release.

“All local cases were infected elsewhere,” Lee said and added that only one of the cases is hospitalized, and is currently at WVU Medicine.

“The Health Department continues to coordinate our response efforts and is working to protect the health of all people in Garrett County,” Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens said in the release.

The Garrett County Health Department is following protocol and gathering information from all the confirmed positive individuals.

“Health department staff is reaching out to all individuals who had contact with those who have tested positive,” Stephens said. “If you do not receive a phone call from the Health Department you should not be concerned that you have been exposed to these individuals.”

Because of privacy laws, no additional information about the positive cases will be released.

Health leaders are asking people to take the illness seriously and limit unnecessary social exposure by staying home, washing hands, remaining home even if only mildly sick, and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

“Call your provider if you develop symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently been in high exposure areas,” the release states.

Information and updates about COVID-19 in Garrett County and around the world are available at garretthealth.org. Residents can also call the Health Department COVID-19 Hotline at 301-334-7698.

“Please call 911 only for medical emergencies, not for coronavirus information or questions,” the release states.

Check back at times-news.com for updates.

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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