Spike in Covid-19 cases prompts restrictions

City Council President Jack Heath and City Administrator Julia Glanz at Monday’s announcement.

Attendance at gatherings inside Salisbury city limits is being restricted under a new order to help stop a recent spike in Covid-19 cases.

City Administrator Julia Glanz said that effective 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 16, indoor gatherings will be limited to 15 people and outdoors to 50 people.

“In Wicomico County, we are at 7 percent — a dramatic increase from this time last month when we were under 3 percent,” she said. “That’s enough to put us in the top five counties in the state over the past week for cases per 100,000 residents, and yesterday we had the dubious honor of coming in second in Maryland with 16.55 per hundred thousand. Not where we want to be.”

Since the state went into Phase 2 of its reopening plan, people have let their guard down, Glanz said. A sense of normalcy led to an increase in gatherings like barbecues and parties.

“Of those who have spoken with a contact tracer, 40 percent reported having attended a gathering of some sort,” she said.

The new order applies to parties, cookouts and other social gatherings, but it is not associated with patronizing or operating a business of any sort.

The order also does not apply to any gathering at a retail store, office, restaurant, youth sports event, or any gathering for a spiritual purpose, including church services, fundraisers, or any other faith-based activity, Glanz said.

This order will be enforced by the Salisbury Police Department with warnings and fines as appropriate.

Salisbury University “applauds” the city’s efforts, said Dane Foust, Vice President of Student Affairs.

The campus recently reported 333 positive Covid-19 cases after testing 5,479 people – a 6.1 percent positivity rate — between Sept. 5 and Sept. 11, according to the SU website.

The university amended its code of conduct related to Covid-19, to include social distancing, mask wearing and taking part in activities that jeopardize others on campus, Foust said.

SU recently suspended 21 students for taking part in gatherings that involved alcohol and no mask wearing, he said.

Wicomico County’s confirmed cases of coronavirus patients totaled 1,778 patients as of Monday, state health officials reported. There have been 48 deaths in the county.

Salisbury University students who test positive are reported in their home counties or states.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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