Throughout December, Charles County has been experiencing a significant increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate and a number of cases, due to the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant and holiday travel. The Charles County Department of Health is urging the community to help stop the spread and save lives by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing whenever possible. Additionally, please consider taking the necessary steps to keep you and your loved ones protected.
Being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness due to COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, widely available, and free at the health department, local pharmacies, and at many primary care doctor’s offices. All community members ages 5 and older are urged to get full vaccination for COVID-19; and a booster dose is strongly advised for all who are eligible, ages 16 years and older. Appointments through the health department are strongly encouraged, but not required. You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment by calling (301) 609-6717 or visiting www.CharlesCountycovid.org/vaccine-registration.
COVID-19 testing is in high demand both locally and nationally, due to the rising number of cases and limited testing supplies. Here is when you should seek a COVID-19 test:
- You are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19; or
- 5-7 days after you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Charles County Department of Health is offering free testing on Wednesday, Dec. 29, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium, 11765 St Linus Drive, Waldorf. Testing may also be available at local pharmacies or your doctor’s office; however, testing options and supplies are extremely limited due to high demand. For more information, visit www.CharlesCountycovid.org/testing/.
Guidance on Quarantine and Self-Isolation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated its guidance on quarantine and self-isolation. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, you only need to isolate for five days, followed by five days of strict mask-wearing around others. Additionally, quarantine has been reduced to five days for those who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated or are six months past the last date of their second mRNA vaccine or two months past their single-dose J&J vaccine. For additional information on quarantine and self-isolation, view the CDC’s recent news release here.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Local calls for emergency transport have increased, and emergency department wait time can be lengthy when seeking care at local hospitals. The emergency room intake process is triaged for all patients seeking care. Please do call 9-1-1 immediately if you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following COVID-19 symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
The public is advised that the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center is not currently administering COVID-19 vaccines or providing COVID-19 testing. If you plan to seek emergency care, you can obtain an estimated wait time in advance by visiting www.umms.org/charles.
Board of Commissioners hold special meeting
The Board of Charles County Commissioners has scheduled a special meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 9:30 a.m. to receive an update from the Charles County Health Department and affiliated agencies on Coronavirus/COVID-19. To view the agenda click here.