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With 29 new COVID-19 cases, Carroll County on pace for worst week since July

Health officials confirmed 29 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, putting Carroll County on pace for its highest number of positive tests among community members in a week since July.

With 54 new community cases through Wednesday, Carroll is on pace for about 94 this week after recording no fewer than 60 but no more than 70 over the previous four weeks. Only twice during the pandemic has Carroll surpassed 90 community cases in one week: 97 were reported the week of July 19 and a record 110 were reported the week of July 26.

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It is unclear whether the potential spike this week has anything to do with Carroll County Public Schools reopening Oct. 19 under a hybrid model that allows elementary and middle school students to learn in person twice per week, although few school-age children have tested positive since then.

The day schools reopened, the Carroll County Health Department had reported a cumulative total of 28 community cases among those younger than 10 years old and 188 among those between ages 10 and 19. There have been three confirmed under-10 cases and five confirmed 10-19 cases since.

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Meanwhile, there have been far more new cases over that time span in all other age groups (with the exception of those 80 and older). For example, there have been 27 confirmed cases among those ages 50-59 and 26 among those in the 60-69 range.

Health Officer Ed Singer said his office doesn’t currently have any data “to indicate that this one-day spike is related to the start of in-person learning at CCPS.” He also noted, “it’s just one day, so that doesn’t yet indicate a trend, but we will keep watching it closely.”

McDaniel College reported one new case Wednesday and has seen 18 members of its campus community test positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 2,585 tests conducted since Aug. 14.

One new case at a congregate living facility was announced Wednesday, a staff member at Lorien Taneytown whose case had been classified last week as coming from the community. There are four “active facility outbreaks” according to the health department, although cases at congregate living facilities have decreased markedly since the first few months of the pandemic. October has seen just six facility cases, according to health department data. Still, overall there have been 688 positive tests and 130 of the 150 coronavirus fatalities in Carroll have been residents of such facilities.

One new probable case was announced, but three previously reported probable cases have since been confirmed, meaning the net probable cases decreased by two to 114. 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, 1,432 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of seven since Tuesday. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic rose by one to 133.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, rose slightly to 2.4%, through Tuesday. The statewide rate remained essentially flat at 3.36%.

Of the 1,566 community members to test positive in Carroll, 31 are younger than 10 years old; 193 are in the 10-19 range; 326 are 20-29 years old; 192 are 30-39; 225 are 40-49; 310 are 50-59; 183 are 60-69; 65 are 70-79; 39 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 814 of the positive tests, and men 752.

According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 2,254 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 771 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 572, Mount Airy with 273, Manchester with 149, Hampstead with 111, Finksburg with 109, Taneytown with 86, New Windsor with 51, Marriottsville with 38, Woodbine with 33, Keymar with 30, and Union Bridge with 21. 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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