DENTON — On Wednesday, Sept. 9, the Maryland Department of Health reported 113,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maryland. The statewide positivity rate is now 3.7%. While on the western shore infection rates are dropping, most of those on the Shore continue to climb with Caroline County having the second highest positivity rate in the state at 6.03%, second only to Wicomico with a rate of 6.31%, based on Wednesday’s numbers.

Other COVID-19 positivity rates on the Shore include 5.78% in Worcester, 5.67% in Cecil, 4.53% in Dorchester, 4.52% in Queen Anne’s; 3.25% in Kent, 2.58% in Talbot and a low of 1.41% in Somerset.

Caroline’s spike can be attributed to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus at Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Denton, where more than half the residents are infected.

Sara Visintainer, chief of staff for the Caroline County Commissioners, said Wednesday the number of nursing home residents who have tested positive is now at 43. The facility currently has 68 residents, meaning more than 63% are ill. Eighteen staff members have also tested positive for the virus.

One resident with COVID-19 is currently hospitalized, Visintainer said.

Positive cases were first reported Aug. 29. They were identified through the weekly testing of required by the Maryland Department of Health for all residents and staff at nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities.

Due to the outbreak, the facility is conducting testing every three days. Six results from the latest round of testing are still pending, she said.

“Local health department staff continues to work closely with the facility with the assistance of the Maryland Department of Health, including the Office of Health Care Quality. The health department receives an update on the condition of each COVID-positive patient at least once a day,” Visintainer said.

She added that senior leadership of the corporate owner of the facility has been on site since the weekend.

Caroline Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is owned by Axis Health at Caroline Opco LLC.

The local health department continues to offer free, drive-thru screening for COVID-19 for Caroline residents from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays in the parking lot at 403 S. 7th St., Denton.

Last week, 53 people were screened on Sept. 1, said Director of Nursing Laura Patrick. Of those, three came back positive.

This week, on Sept. 8, 72 people were screened, she said. Those results are not back yet.

The health department encourages anyone who wants to be tested to call 410-479-8000 and make an appointment.

For anyone outside Caroline County, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, in partnership with Chesapeake College, is offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at the Wye Mills campus.

You do not need to have symptoms or a doctor’s order to schedule a COVID-19 test at this location, but an appointment is required. Go to https://www.umms.org/shore/coronavirus/testing-locations to sign up. Be sure to bring a photo ID to your appointment.

Statewide Maryland has had 3,672 deaths from COVID-19. So far, 7,157 patients have recovered and been released from isolation.

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