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Two more residents of Westminster nursing facility die of COVID-19; Carroll County sees 11 new cases

Two more residents of elder care facilities have died of COVID-19, Carroll County Health Department announced Wednesday, and the county added 11 new cases overall.

Both locals who died of the disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, were residents at Westminster Healthcare Center, the health department said. That facility also had two more residents test positive, bringing its testing total to 91 residents, 19 of whom have died. A dozen staffers, four of whom are Carroll residents, have also contracted the disease.

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The health department also reported three new cases each at Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville and Brinton Woods Health and Rehab Center at Winfield. Birch Manor has now had 62 resident cases, five staffer cases (four Carroll residents) and 15 resident deaths. Brinton Woods has seen 35 resident cases, six staffer cases (two Carroll residents) and six resident deaths.

A staffer of Lorien Taneytown who lives in Carroll also tested positive, the health department said. That facility, which has also seen three residents contract the disease and one die from it, had been considered to no longer have an active outbreak since June 17.

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Facilities that house multiple residents are particularly vulnerable to localized outbreaks — especially those that house the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions.

Statewide, the number of active COVID-19 cases at nursing homes and assisted living centers is down by 20% and the death rate among the facilities’ residents has slowed significantly over the past week.

There are about 6,800 active cases of COVID-19 among Maryland facilities’ residents and staff, a decline of 19.6% since June 17. And there were 50 deaths over the past week, by far the fewest since the state began reporting that data in late April, when elder care centers accounted for as many as 300 a week.

Carroll’s positivity rate, or the rate in which tests of Carroll residents return positive, rose more than a full percentage point, to 3.47%, since Tuesday. That rate is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health.

Maryland’s average positivity rate over the past seven days is 5.17%, according to state officials.

Two more residents of the wider community — that is, not in congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes and correctional facilities — were confirmed with the disease since Tuesday. The county has now reported a total of 1,066 confirmed cases, 598 of which have been been in congregate living facilities. Carroll has seen 125 deaths, 111 from those living facilities.

Despite a recent decline in new cases, county health officer Ed Singer has cautioned that a spike could be possible in the coming weeks, and it’s still important for locals to observe social distancing guidelines.

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.

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.

Baltimore Sun reporter Scott Dance contributed to this article.

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