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CUMBERLAND — COVID-19 continued to wreak havoc on Allegany and Garrett counties Tuesday, as cases, fueled by the delta variant, continued to mount.

Allegany County had the state’s highest case rate Tuesday at 76.89, followed by Garrett at 68.93. Garrett had the state’s highest positivity rate (17.43%), followed by Allegany (12.66%), according to health officials.

“Most of the counties in Maryland are seeing a COVID-19 plateau, except in counties with low vaccination rates,” said Dr. Jennifer Corder, deputy health officer for Garrett and Allegany counties in a news release. “We can expect to see this trend continue until most of the population is either vaccinated or acquires immunity.”

57 per day

Allegany County recorded 147 new cases from Friday to Monday and another 83 Monday to Tuesday, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

The county’s case rate, a measure of new coronavirus cases per day, was more than four times the state average Monday at 81.56 per 100,000 population. At that rate, about 57 county residents were testing positive for the disease daily, according to an Allegany County Health Department news release. Tuesday, the county’s case rate declined slightly to 76.89, compared to the state average 20.01.

The county’s COVID-related death toll increased by two Tuesday, to 228, according to state health data.

Free, walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations are available Wednesday at 12501 Willowbrook Road. From 9 a.m.-noon, the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are offered. From 1-5:30 p.m., the Pfizer vaccine is offered to those 10 and older. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

About 44% of county residents 18 and over are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, compared to 63.6% statewide.

Drive-thru testing is available at the Allegany County Fairgrounds Monday from 2-7 p.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Preregistration is available at health.maryland.gov/allegany.

‘Never been a better time’

Garrett County added 69 virus cases Monday and 14 Tuesday, according to state health department data.

“Maryland currently has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S., while neighboring West Virginia is the second highest with a case rate of 101,” said Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens. “Unfortunately, our vaccination rate mirrors West Virginia so we expect the number of cases Garrett County will continue to increase in the short term.”

Health officials said local testing has increased, with about 400 tests are being completed each week.

“There has never been a better time to get a vaccine,” Corder said. “Our numbers are bad and we are surrounded by counties with even worse statistics than ours.”

The Garrett County Health Department has weekly clinics scheduled at its Oakland and Grantsville offices, with Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer vaccine available at each clinic.

The Oakland clinic runs Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1025 Memorial Drive. The Grantsville clinic is held Fridays at 28 Hershberger Land, also from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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