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Carroll County finishes week with every new COVID-19 case coming from community, with 7 added Friday

A recent trend continued Friday, with the Carroll County Health Department announcing seven new COVID-19 cases, all of them among community members outside of congregate living facilities.

That raises Carroll’s total count of new cases for the week to 37, all of them among residents who don’t live in congregate living facilities, which include nursing homes and correctional facilities. Community members outside of those facilities account for 579 cases, about half of Carroll’s total of 1,228.

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For much of the pandemic, which arrived in Carroll in mid-March, daily case spikes were attributed to local outbreaks at those facilities, but increases thus far in July have almost entirely been from outside such facilities. No new facility cases have been confirmed since July 6; the total stands at 649.

All but 14 of the county’s 132 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, have occurred in congregate living facilities. No new deaths have been announced in Carroll since July 10, when two were reported.

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In the week beginning July 5, the health department reported Friday, 40 more community cases were added, the same amount as the previous week. By contrast, the first three weeks of June, in order, saw 14 new community cases, then 13, then 10.

The health department now considers a localized outbreak at Longview Nursing Home in Manchester to be closed, meaning at least 14 days have passed since the onset of the most recent case there.

On Thursday a coalition of county leaders issued a joint statement “strongly recommending” that locals continue to wear face coverings to help mitigate the virus’ spread among the community.

Ed Singer, Carroll County health officer, said in the statement, “This work can’t be done by one agency or group — we need our whole community to be a part of these efforts, to protect each other, and to build resilience and strength across all ages, races, and levels of socioeconomic and health status.”

The county’s positivity rate, or the rate at which tests of Carroll residents return positive, declined slightly to 1.73%. The positivity rate, through July 16, is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. The statewide rate is 4.43%.

Of the 564 community members to test positive, 12 are younger than 10 years old; 33 are in the 10-19 range; 101 are 20-29 years old; 84 are 30-39; 92 are 40-49; 147 are 50-59; 75 are 60-69; 20 are 70-79; and 15 are 80-89. Women have accounted for 285 of the positive tests, and men 294. In cases where race is known, 87% of those testing positive have been white, 7% have been Black and 6% considered “Other.” Where ethnicity is known, 17% are Hispanic.

According to health department data, Westminster has the most cases in Carroll, with 401 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 336, Mount Airy with 187, Manchester with 88, Hampstead with 49, Taneytown with 44, Finksburg with 38, Keymar with 28, New Windsor with 25, Woodbine with 13, Marriottsville with nine and Union Bridge with eight. Data is suppressed in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

The number of hospitalizations for the disease increased by one Friday, to 85.

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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