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Coronavirus

Carroll County announces another dozen COVID-19 cases; Sykesville nursing home is fined $315K

Another 12 community cases of COVID-19 were announced by the Carroll County Health Department on Wednesday, the same day a report showed that a Sykesville nursing home was hit with a fine of more than $300,000 for failing to take sufficient infection control measures to protect residents from the coronavirus.

The second consecutive day of Carroll experiencing a net increase of 12 cases among community members outside of facilities like nursing homes means that roughly halfway through the week, 34 new cases have been reported. The county saw 36 new cases last week and 37 the week before. The county is on pace for its highest weekly total of new cases since early August.

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Additionally, Carroll’s positivity rate, the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, rose above 2% for the first time since Aug. 6, when it was 2.05%. The rate, 2.08% as of Sept. 1, is reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. The statewide rate is 3.36%.

A public records request of state nursing home inspections, filed by The Baltimore Sun, revealed that a $315,000 fine was levied in July against Brinton Woods Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Sykesville. Only Sagepoint Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, in Charles County, incurred a larger fine.

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LifeBridge Health has partnered with Brinton Woods since 2017 and took ownership of it in April, according to a LifeBridge news release.

“The care and safety of our residents is paramount at Brinton Woods, and there are currently no COVID positive patients at our facility,” LifeBridge spokesperson Sharon Boston said via the release. “While we look to appeal some of the findings, any concerns identified were immediately addressed and corrected. We are now further analyzing the State’s survey and putting together a comprehensive action plan, including implementing resources and coordination with leaders at LifeBridge Health long-term care facilities.”

The records show that 64 of Maryland’s 226 certified nursing homes failed to take sufficient infection control measures. Ten of them were fined from $70,000 to $380,000. It had previously been reported that Pleasant View Nursing Home in Mount Airy was fined $70,000.

Brinton Woods is one of six congregate living facilities in Carroll County listed by the health department as having a current COVID-19 outbreak. Brinton Woods has seen 38 resident cases, six staff cases (two of whom live in Carroll) and 11 fatalities. The health department also listed one new out-of-county staff case at another of the six facilities, Birch Manor Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Sykesville.

Such facilities were responsible for the majority of cases in Carroll during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, but positive tests have slowed significantly. Of the 677 congregate living facilities cases in Carroll, only 13 have been reported since Aug. 1. Facility residents have accounted for 127 of the 144 deaths in Carroll from COVID-19.

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McDaniel College in Westminster has reported six positive cases — only one in the past week — among its campus population from a total of 1,162 tests administered since Aug. 14.

Carroll County has now seen 1,025 community cases — those occurring among members of the wider community, living outside of congregate living facilities such as nursing homes and group homes — with 880 having been released from isolation.

Of the community members to test positive in Carroll, 21 are younger than 10 years old; 106 are in the 10-19 range; 214 are 20-29 years old; 130 are 30-39; 156 are 40-49; 223 are 50-59; 108 are 60-69; 40 are 70-79; 26 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s. Women have accounted for 519 of the positive tests, and men 506.

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According to health department data, Carroll has seen 1,702 total COVID-19 cases. Westminster has the most, with 573 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 458, Mount Airy with 212, Manchester with 123, Finksburg with 76, Hampstead with 68, Taneytown with 64, New Windsor with 38, Keymar with 28, Marriottsville with 23, Woodbine with 18 and Union Bridge with 17. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

The health department testing site at the Carroll County Agricultural Center will not offer testing on Sunday because of the Labor Day holiday. Testing will resume on Tuesday. Testing is held on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon. An appointment is necessary.

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.

Baltimore Sun reporter Meredith Cohn contributed to this article.


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