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Carroll County’s weekly COVID-19 case total could be lowest since late June

As the week nears its end, it’s appearing likely that it will have the lowest coronavirus case total among Carroll County community members since late June.

The Carroll County Health Department announced eight new cases Friday, all among members of the community outside what the department describes as congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes. That raises the week’s case total, from Sunday through Friday, to 27 confirmed cases among community members. Last week, Carroll added a total of 53 community cases.

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Weekly case totals have declined since the week of July 26, which holds the record for the highest weekly case total, with 109. The second-highest total to date is 97, set the week before that. Before then, the peak had stood at 60 cases, during the week of April 5, since the early phases of the pandemic.

This week’s total, pending any cases added through Saturday, could turn out to be the lowest since the week of June 28, when there were 39 community cases.

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County Health Officer Ed Singer told the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday that it appears the county is “heading in a more positive direction,” but that he wants to see a weekly rate no higher than 35 community cases for a few weeks.

The health department also announced Friday that the county’s positivity rate, or the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, through Thursday dropped below 1% for the first time, standing at 0.96%. The statewide rate also declined to its lowest level yet, 3.08%.

The county’s rate has been below 2% since Aug. 6, when it was 2.06%.

Daily testing capacity has hovered around 100 since the county reopened its site at the Carroll County Agriculture Center. A total of 98 were tested there Thursday, and 107 were tested Tuesday.

The number of positive cases among all age groups has declined since the week of July 26, especially among the 18- to 29-year-old group, which reached previously unseen heights that week.

However, McDaniel College reported two more positive cases from its campus population Friday, bringing the total to five. A total of 798 COVID-19 tests have now been administered, up from 767 Thursday.

In all, Carroll has seen 1,620 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — 943 from the community and 677 from county residents who work or live in congregate living facilities.

The health department now considers outbreaks at four elder care facilities to be over, meaning that at least 14 days have passed since the onset of the most recent case at each. Those four are Fairhaven in Sykesville, Longview Nursing Home in Manchester, Lorien Taneytown and Lorien Mount Airy.

However, a health department spokesperson said one resident of Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville who contracted the virus there was erroneously counted as a case from Fairhaven. That raises Birch Manor’s resident case total to 69, but that was a previously announced case.

There have been 141 coronavirus-related fatalities in Carroll, 125 residents or staff of congregate living facilities and 16 among the wider community.

Health department data shows a total of 794 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of three since Thursday. And a total of 108 community members have been hospitalized for the virus, the same as Thursday.

Of the 943 community members to test positive in Carroll, 20 are younger than 10 years old; 92 are in the 10-19 range; 189 are 20-29 years old; 122 are 30-39; 149 are 40-49; 209 are 50-59; 102 are 60-69; 37 are 70-79; 22 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s. Women have accounted for 471 of the positive tests, and men 472.

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According to health department data, Westminster has the most total cases in Carroll, with 549 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 429, Mount Airy with 208, Manchester with 115, Finksburg with 73, Hampstead with 65, Taneytown with 61, New Windsor with 37, Keymar with 28, Woodbine and Marriottsville with 18 each, and Union Bridge with 16. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

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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