LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Due to the recent rise in local cases of COVID-19 as well as sustained rates of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) is recommending community members take measures to prevent the spread of illness. Symptoms of all three respiratory illnesses can include sore throat, headache, stuffy nose and fever. 

Ongoing surveillance of local COVID-19 data by SMCHD has shown a recent increase in several key indicators including an increase in COVID-19 rates across all age groups, an increase in Community Transmission to High, and an increase in Community Level to Medium.

Community members are encouraged to take the following preventive measures to avoid contracting and spreading these illnesses:

  • Wear a more effective mask (such as N95 or KN95) in indoor public spaces or with large groups indoors. Free KN95 masks for both adults and children are available through SMCHD Health Hub and the St. Mary’s County public libraries. 
  • Stay up-to-date with vaccines, including this year’s seasonal flu vaccine and updated bivalent version of the COVID-19 booster. SMCHD encourages annual flu vaccine for all persons age 6 months and older. Updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters have better coverage of circulating variants of COVID-19, and are currently approved for those age 6 months and older.
    • For more information or to make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, please visit or call (301) 475-4330.
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of RSV, flu, or COVID-19. Testing allows community members to predict days they are most contagious, notify contacts who may have been exposed, and start appropriate treatment to prevent severe illness and spread of infection.
    • SMCHD offers a rapid test that checks for flu, COVID-19, and RSV in one nasal swab and uses the gold standard PCR technology. See for current available hours and locations of rapid PCR testing.

“Preventive measures like more effective masking when in indoor public spaces and getting the new bivalent COVID-19 booster can help decrease the risk of severe illness and post-COVID conditions during this time of high community transmission,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “As other respiratory illnesses such as flu and RSV combine with COVID to strain our regional healthcare systems, we ask our residents to better protect themselves and others, including those community members who may be more vulnerable to severe illness.”  

For more information about COVID-19 symptoms, prevention, testing, and vaccines, visit:

For more information about the flu, including symptoms and prevention, visit:

For more information on RSV, visit:

Join the Conversation


  1. How about, no… No body cares, it’s part of life. We don’t need anymore fake news and media scare. It’s sad that so many people will listen to this lady, “Dr” Meena Brewster. She is no Dr at all.

  2. What a load of BS. Nothing about maintaining a healthy body through proper nutrition and exercise from the “Health” department. The health department is the enemy of the people, else they wouldn’t only peddle pharmaceutical interventions, nor continue with the false narrative that it is only “vaccines” that can help a person.

  3. The “Gold Standard” pcr test used is, honestly, known as the Fool’s Gold Standard. The developer, Kary Mullis who won a Nobel Prize for it back in 1993, I think, said it should NEVER be used to test for illness. NEVER! It was intended purely for lab experiments. You didn’t hear of him because he conveniently died about a month before the early cases.

  4. I have two Phizers for 2021, two Moderna boosters for 2022, and a regular flu shot last year on top of that, so are you now telling me I am not safe?

    1. Yes you are not safe, you need 8 more boosters, wear 5 face diapers and stay 30 feet from everyone

  5. I think most people will be fine but being sick sucks no matter what somebody says. People are back to being nasty and people are not cleaning as much. Not a lot of cold medicine out there so you have to take your own precautions.

  6. These comments are just hilarious. There is nothing is this statement that is scary or conspiracy laden. But all the far right wing knuckleheads have to come out to spew their ignorance.

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