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9 more COVID-19 cases in Carroll County, continuing recent downward trend

Continuing a recent downward trend, the Carroll County Health Department on Tuesday reported nine new COVID-19 cases, all among members of the community outside of congregate living facilities.

The numbers of Carroll countians outside of what the county defines as congregate living facilities — such as nursing homes or group homes — reached new heights three weeks ago. But case totals have been declining this week and last.

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So far this week, from Sunday through Tuesday, 19 community cases have been announced, compared with 26 at the same point last week. Last Tuesday, Aug. 4, eight new community cases were announced.

Last week, a total of 60 community cases were confirmed, matching the weekly record that stood from the week of April 5 until the week of July 19, when there were 97 community cases. The week after that saw an even higher total, 109.

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County Health Officer Ed Singer has cautioned that decreased testing capacity might be a factor in the recent downturn in community cases. The COVID-19 testing site run by the health department was relocated from the Carroll County Agriculture Center to accommodate the Carroll County 4-H & FFA Fair. Testing was not offered on Sunday, Aug. 2 or Sunday, Aug. 9, as it would have been at the Ag Center.

In all, Carroll has seen 1,556 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — 882 from the community and 674 from county residents who work or live in congregate living facilities.

No deaths attributed to COVID-19 have been announced since Aug. 3. There have been 140 such deaths in total, and 125 of them have come from congregate living facilities. Those facilities also accounted for Carroll’s sharpest spikes of cases earlier in the pandemic, but the pace of new facility cases has slowed to a crawl in the past month.

Carroll County’s positivity rate, or the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, stayed below 2% for the fourth straight day. The rate, 1.64% as of Aug. 10, is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. The statewide rate dropped slightly to 3.54%.

The World Health Organization recommends that there be a positivity rate below 5% for two weeks before governments take steps to reopen, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that states wait until they have 14 days of positivity rates under 10%, with an average of two days or less for the return of test results, before initiating a third reopening phase. Carroll’s positivity rate has been below 5% since June 5, when it was 6.33%.

Of the 882 community members to test positive in Carroll, 18 are younger than 10 years old; 86 are in the 10-19 range; 176 are 20-29 years old; 116 are 30-39; 140 are 40-49; 195 are 50-59; 98 are 60-69; 31 are 70-79; 21 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s.

Women have accounted for 434 of the positive tests, and men 448.

According to health department data, Westminster has the most cases in Carroll, with 526 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 419, Mount Airy with 203, Manchester with 112, Finksburg with 70, Hampstead with 65, Taneytown with 55, New Windsor with 31, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 17, Union Bridge with 15 and Marriottsville with 13. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

The number of residents that the health department has announced who have recovered from the disease remained at 647. The number of announced hospitalizations also stayed the same, at 102.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member might be showing coronavirus symptoms can call the hotline between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday 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.

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