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Dozen new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Carroll County, continuing week’s uptick

Since Wednesday, a dozen coronavirus cases were confirmed in the Carroll County community outside of living facilities like nursing homes, according to Carroll County Health Department data, signaling a modest uptick.

The health department also confirmed another death attributed to COVID-19, the 18th of a resident at Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville. A total of 64 residents of that facility have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as have five staffers, four of whom live in Carroll.

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The county has now seen a total of 1,149 confirmed cases and 128 deaths. Of those, 644 cases and 114 deaths have been been in what the county defines as congregate living facilities. Such facilities house multiple residents — often the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions — and are particularly vulnerable to localized outbreaks.

However, only five cases in congregate living facilities have been confirmed since June 25. Meanwhile, there have been 34 cases in the wider community since June 25.

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That level is the highest on a weekly basis since the week beginning May 24, when there were 49 cases in the wider Carroll community.

“We are not sure what is causing this, but it is likely in part due to increased social activity as the state has reopened,” said Rachel Tabler, spokesperson for the health department. “We encourage people to continue to wear face coverings in public, wash their hands often, social distance, and consider celebrating the holiday weekend outdoors and avoiding crowds to help slow the spread. People should also stay home if they are sick and get tested if symptomatic or at risk.”

For most of June, Carroll had community cases at the lowest levels seen since the week of March 29, when the pandemic was still new to Maryland and there were 19 community cases in Carroll. In the week beginning June 7, the health department reported 14 community cases, followed by 13 the next week, and 10 the week after that.

County Health Officer Ed Singer on June 11 told the Board of County Commissioners that a spike could be possible in the coming weeks, and he cautioned that social distancing guidelines remain important.

Carroll’s positivity rate, or the rate in which tests of Carroll residents return positive is 2.78% as of Wednesday, a slight increase since 3.20% on Tuesday. That rate, which is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health, has ranged from 1.40% to 4.31% in the second half of June.

Maryland’s average positivity rate over the past seven days is 4.76%, according to state officials.

The health department considers 310 people to be recovered from the disease, the same level seen June 19. The number of total hospitalizations for the disease of community members remained at 76, which has been unchanged since June 23.

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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