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10 new COVID-19 cases reported in Carroll County, trending behind same point a week ago

On Tuesday, the Carroll County Health Department reported a total of 10 new COVID-19 cases, the smallest single-day increase since July 17, when seven cases were announced.

Of those new cases, eight were among members of the wider community outside of what the county defines as congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes and correctional facilities. It was in facilities like those that Carroll saw the sharpest spikes of cases earlier in the pandemic, as well as almost all deaths seen so far — 125 of 140.

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But community members outside of those facilities have been contracting the disease at higher rates in the past two weeks than at any point so far. Last week set a record, with 109 community cases, breaking the record of 97 that was set just the week before. The next-highest weekly total for community cases was set the week of April 5, near the beginning of the pandemic, with 60.

So far this week, from Sunday through Tuesday, 26 community cases have been announced, compared with 44 at the same point last week. Last Tuesday, July 28, 13 new community cases were announced.

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The health department did report two new cases Tuesday from a congregate living facility — specifically Westminster Healthcare Center, which is now considered to have a reopened outbreak for the first time since July 15.

One more resident at Westminster Healthcare Center has contracted the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and a staffer who lives in Carroll accounted for the other new case. That brings the facility’s totals to 92 resident cases, 14 staffer cases (six live in Carroll) and 19 resident deaths.

Carroll has now seen 1,495 cases of COVID-19. Of those, 829 have come from the community and 666 have come from county residents who work or live in congregate living facilities.

Carroll County’s positivity rate, or the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, declined by half a percentage point as of Monday, to 2.66%. That’s the first time the rate has dipped below 3% since July 21, when it was 2.81%. The rate is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. The statewide rate is 4.44%.

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.

Of the 829 community members to test positive in Carroll, 16 are younger than 10 years old; 81 are in the 10-19 range; 166 are 20-29 years old; 112 are 30-39; 130 are 40-49; 181 are 50-59; 94 are 60-69; 29 are 70-79; 19 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s.

Women have accounted for 407 of the positive tests, and men 422.

According to health department data, Westminster has the most cases in Carroll, with 506 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 405, Mount Airy with 199, Manchester with 105, Finksburg with 66, Hampstead with 63, Taneytown with 53, Keymar with 28, New Windsor with 27, Woodbine with 16, Marriottsville with 13 and Union Bridge with 12. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

The number of residents who have recovered from the disease stayed the same Tuesday, at 608, and the number of hospitalizations for the disease remained at 100.

Among members of the wider community outside congregate living facilities, where ethnicity is known, 15% are Hispanic. Where race is known, 87% of those testing positive have been white, 7% have been Black and 6% considered “Other.”

The COVID-19 testing site run by the health department and temporarily located at Friendship Valley Elementary School, at 1100 Gist Road in Westminster, was closed Tuesday because of weather, but is planned to be open Aug. 5 and 6, from 9 a.m. to noon. Testing is scheduled to return to the original site at the Carroll County Agricultural Center on Aug. 11.

Anyone who thinks they or a family member might be showing coronavirus symptoms can call that 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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