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More coronavirus cases reported in long-term care facilities, as Carroll County shares less data

The number of cases of the coronavirus among long-term care facilities rose again Tuesday, Carroll County announced, though the county has also decreased the amount of data it is sharing.

The county now has 339 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 211 of those have been at long-term care facilities, according to Carroll County Health Department data. Of the 38 deaths Carroll has seen thus far, 34 have been in such facilities. No new deaths were announced Tuesday.

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Of those 34 people who have died of the disease, 26 were residents at Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy, three lived at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster and five were at other long-term care facilities.

The Health Department is no longer confirming whether specific long-term care facilities have seen cases among residents. It previously had announced figures for Pleasant View and Carroll Lutheran Village but stopped April 21.

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“Data specific to the county’s first two outbreaks was released due to the scope of the containment and mitigation responses, which caused details to rapidly become public knowledge,” Maggie Kunz, Health Department spokesperson, said in an email Tuesday. “The county will be following state guidance that protects the confidentiality of outbreak reports in order to protect the privacy of individuals affected. We will continue to share aggregate data for all congregate living facility cases, separate from the total number of community cases.”

Maryland health officials have never provided a full list of the nursing homes where outbreaks of the infectious new contagion have been confirmed, even to the administrators and staff working to protect elderly and infirm residents. Some counties have declined to name facilities with COVID-19 cases, saying they needed authorization from the state to share them publicly.

Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities, have been hotspots for COVID-19 cases throughout the state. Those who are elderly or have existing health conditions are particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Asked about state policy on releasing the information, Maryland health department spokesman Charlie Gischlar said local health departments “make their decisions about the information they release based on HIPAA policies, requirements, and state laws.”

The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act protects patients’ access to their health records as well as the privacy of individually identifiable health information.

Maryland on Tuesday saw a single-day high in new deaths related to the coronavirus, with officials announcing 68 new confirmed deaths for a new total of 584. They attribute another 68 probable deaths to the virus, likely caused by the infection but not confirmed by a laboratory test.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the state rose to at least 14,193, as Maryland announced 509 new positive tests.

Carroll County also reported Tuesday that it considers 60 people to be recovered from the disease, up by two people since Monday.

Of the 128 people who were confirmed with the virus not at a long-term care facility, 63 are women and 64 are men, with gender information for one more person unknown. Two people are between the ages of 10 and 19; 23 are between ages 20 and 29; 13 are between ages 30 and 39; 20 between ages 40 and 49; 44 between ages 50 and 59; 15 between ages 60 and 69; six between ages 70 and 79; and five between ages 80 and 89.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member might be showing coronavirus symptoms can call the Carroll County Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline, which is available 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. seven days a week at 410-876-4848, or contact their doctor. After hours, callers may leave a message or call 211. People with emergencies should continue to call 911.

Baltimore Sun reporters Scott Dance and Nathan Ruiz contributed to this article.

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