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The Carroll County Health Department has announced another death from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, along with 18 more cases since Tuesday.
Carroll County’s overall total is at 270 cases and 32 deaths Wednesday. Long-term care facilities account for 159 of the confirmed cases in the county, and 28 of the 32 deaths have been residents of such facilities.
A second resident of Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster was reported Wednesday to have died. In total, 31 residents and seven staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus at that location.
Four more residents at Westminster Healthcare Center have tested positive, bringing the total to nine, spokesperson Fred Stratmann confirmed Wednesday. Two employees there have tested positive as well, he said, though there have been no deaths. It was unclear whether these figures are included in the county data.
The Pleasant View Nursing Home outbreak in Mount Airy is still the largest concentration of cases in Carroll County, having infected 82 residents and 39 staff members. As of Wednesday, 24 residents had died, representing the majority of Carroll countians who have died.
“Community” cases — in other words, those not tied to a long-term care facility — rose to 111 from 103, it including 53 women and 58 men. There have been four fatalities and 16 hospitalizations in this group. Twenty-nine have recovered and been released from isolation, an increase of four over the previous day.
Of the 111 cases not at a long-term care facility, two are between the ages of 10 and 19; 20 are between ages 20 and 29; 10 are between ages 30 and 39; 15 between ages 40 and 49; 41 between ages 50 and 59; 13 between ages 60 and 69; six between ages 70 and 79; and four between ages 80 and 89.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are particularly vulnerable after an outbreak because the disease is most likely to cause serious illness or death in those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions.
Also on Wednesday Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order that, starting Saturday, customers and employees should wear face masks while in stores or using public transportation. The Carroll County Health Department and Board of County Commissioners supported the measure in a news release Wednesday, issuing strong recommendations that residents wear a cloth face covering in all public settings where social distancing is difficult.
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Residents should wear homemade cloth masks or face coverings, the release states, and surgical and N-95 masks should be reserved for health care workers and other medical first responders. They should fit snugly, cover the nose and mouth, have multiple layers of fabric, and be washable, according to the release. When removing a mask, people should avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth.
Infected people who do not show symptoms may still spread the coronavirus, and wearing a cloth face covering helps to protect others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Using face coverings does not mean social distancing can be halted, the release states. Residents should still abide by Hogan’s stay-at-home order and continue to maintain a safe distance from others when out at the grocery store or other essential businesses, according to the release.
“My face covering protects you, and your face covering protects me,” Ed Singer, Carroll County health officer, said in the release. “Carroll County is seeing significant community spread of COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are an important way to help slow the spread in our community — another easy way to save lives.”