Six new cases of COVID-19 were reported Wednesday by the Carroll County Health Department, continuing a weeklong trend of fewer positive test results than in the previous two weeks.
The six cases represented the fewest reported by the health department since four were reported on July 15.
All six cases reported Wednesday were 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.
The number of Carroll’s community cases has increased for five consecutive weeks, hitting a record 109 for the week that ended Saturday. So far this week, however, from Sunday through Wednesday, 32 community cases have been announced, compared with 60 at the same point last week. Last Wednesday, July 29, 16 new community cases were announced.
Additionally, Carroll County’s positivity rate, or the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, declined for the fourth consecutive report, to 2.3%. That’s the lowest it has been since it was 2.29% on July 19. The rate is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. The statewide rate dropped to 4.05%.
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.
A health department spokesperson said Wednesday that Carroll businesses and patrons have been largely following executive orders regarding mask-wearing, noting that the department has not had to issue a non-compliance order since April and has yet to have to shut down a business.
“We receive regular complaints about both customers and staff not wearing masks, or not wearing them properly, at local businesses. Our staff diligently follows up on each complaint. In general, business owners have been very receptive to feedback and guidance,” Health Planner Maggie Kunz said via email.
She said those with questions or concerns should reach out to the health department’s COVID-19 call center at 410-876-4848, use the contact form on the health department website or send a message via Facebook.
In all, Carroll has seen 1,501 cases of COVID-19 — 835 from the community and 666 from county residents who work or live in congregate living facilities.
Of the 835 community members to test positive in Carroll, 16 are younger than 10 years old; 81 are in the 10-19 range; 169 are 20-29 years old; 112 are 30-39; 131 are 40-49; 182 are 50-59; 95 are 60-69; 29 are 70-79; 19 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s.
Women have accounted for 411 of the positive tests, and men 424.
According to health department data, Westminster has the most cases in Carroll, with 509 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 405, Mount Airy with 201, Manchester with 105, Finksburg with 66, Hampstead with 63, Taneytown with 53, Keymar with 28, New Windsor with 27, Woodbine with 17, 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 increased by 12 since Tuesday to 620, and the number of hospitalizations for the disease remained at 100.
The COVID-19 testing site run by the health department and temporarily located at Friendship Valley Elementary School is scheduled to be open Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. Testing is set 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 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.