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With 9 new COVID-19 cases, Carroll County above last week’s trend

The Carroll County Health Department announced nine new COVID-19 cases among residents living outside congregate living facilities Friday, signaling that this week could exceed the case total seen last week, which finished with the highest tally in the past four weeks.

There have now been 51 cases among community members announced this week, from Sunday through Friday, with one more day left to be counted. At this point last week, there were 46 cases. But that week finished with 68, the highest weekly total since there were 74 the week of Sept. 6.

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There were 45 cases the week of Sept. 20, the lowest weekly level since there were 37 the week of Aug. 23, but weekly totals have risen since then. Prior to last week’s 68 cases, there were 63 the week of Sept. 27.

Carroll County health officials had set a weekly rate of 42 cases as a maximum in order to avoid “higher risk” for virus transmission among reopened school buildings, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. The Carroll County Board of Education decided Wednesday night to reopen school buildings Monday to students under a hybrid model, with half of students learning in person on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the other half on Thursdays and Fridays — but not for high schoolers.

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A total of 149 Carroll County residents have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, as of Friday. Of those, 130 were residents of congregate living facilities, which saw steep spikes in cases earlier in the pandemic but have seen few in recent weeks.

The health department also reported that an out-of-county resident who works at a congregate living facility in Carroll has tested positive, but because the facility has fewer than 10 residents, health officials won’t name it out of privacy concerns. A department spokesperson said the facility is different from those that have seen new cases earlier this week.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, rose slightly, to 1.98% as of Thursday. The statewide rate that Maryland reports stayed essentially flat at 3.09%.

The health department reported three more probable cases of COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the current total to 87. These “probable” cases stem from Carroll countians who tested positive using a rapid antigen test, rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites. The department doesn’t consider these results to be confirmed cases.

To date, 1,320 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of 12 since Thursday. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic remained at 128.

McDaniel College has seen 16 members of its campus community test positive out of a total of 2,309 tests that have been conducted since Aug. 14.

Of the 1,438 community members to test positive in Carroll, 28 are younger than 10 years old; 187 are in the 10-19 range; 309 are 20-29 years old; 178 are 30-39; 211 are 40-49; 280 are 50-59; 152 are 60-69; 55 are 70-79; 36 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 744 of the positive tests, and men 694.

According to health department data, Carroll has now seen 2,124 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 716 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 550, Mount Airy with 262, Manchester with 142, Hampstead with 102, Finksburg with 101, Taneytown with 80, New Windsor with 45, Marriottsville with 36, Woodbine with 31, Keymar with 30, and Union Bridge with 19. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

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.

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