BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland's seven-day coronavirus positivity rate is above three percent for the first time since mid-September, an increase some doctors said could be the result of Labor Day weekend gatherings.
"The people who are getting sick at Labor Day, they're spreading it to people who then spread it to people," said Dr. Michael Allison, a critical care doctor at St. Agnes Hospital Center.
The increase, Allison added, is not surprising.
"They happen a few weeks after holidays and events where people are congregating," he said.
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With other holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving coming up, providers are looking ahead and wondering if similar increases will come afterward.
With 501 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and three new deaths reported Monday, the state's seven-day positivity rate is at 3.02%, rising for the tenth consecutive day.
"When we see trends over ten days that are consistently rising, then we do get concerned," said Dr. Wilber Chen with the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The changing weather could also mean changing how we live, the doctors said.
"In the fall as temperatures go down, people are going to naturally gravitate towards congregating indoors, and I think we're going to have to resist that urge," Allison warned.
"The summertime was the best time for us to open up, but now I think the window of opportunity is going to be closing," Chen added.
Allison said patients are asking doctors constantly how they can gather safely this holiday season. "The answer is very hard," he said.
Even outdoor gatherings aren't without risks, Chen said.
"I think it is better for you to have delivery and pickup," he said.
Doctors agree a flu shot should be a priority this year and that the threat of the coronavirus isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
"We need to continue to be vigilant and take this virus seriously," Chen said.
"Be careful, keep being vigilant and please don't let your guard down," Allison added.
There are more than 200 coronavirus testing sites across Maryland. To learn more about statewide coronavirus testing, click here.
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