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Carroll County Health Department reports 7 COVID-19 cases, says testing site will be closed Sunday

The Carroll County Health Department has reported seven new COVID-19 cases among community members and announced that the testing site at the Carroll County Agricultural Center will be temporarily closed Sunday.

The number of cases confirmed among Carroll County residents not living in congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes, is relatively low this week, with a total of 16 such cases reported by the health department so far. Two cases that have been announced this week were traced to previous weeks, spokesperson Maggie Kunz said in an email.

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The weekly rate of new community cases has declined for the past two straight weeks. Last week, 53 were reported, down from 74 the prior week and 88 the week before that. Since the week beginning July 19, last week’s number was lower than all but the week beginning Aug. 16, when 39 were recorded, and the following week, which saw 37.

The Ag Center testing site run by the health department is normally open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sunday from 9 a.m. until noon. It will be closed Sunday, Sept. 27, but will reopen the following Tuesday, according to a news release from the department. Kunz said the testing site will be broken down to accommodate an event at the Ag Center.

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More testing locations throughout Maryland are available at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/symptoms-testing. An appointment is needed for a test, and health officials recommend scheduling one through health care providers.

A total of 146 Carroll residents have died as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 129 of those have been from cases originating in congregate living facilities.

The department no longer considers Westminster Healthcare Center and Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville to have active outbreaks, meaning there has been at least 14 days since the onset of the recent recent case at each. But the death toll can still rise even without an active outbreak; on Tuesday, the health department reported a Westminster Healthcare Center resident who previously tested positive had died from the disease.

Three more probable cases were reported, bringing that total to 50. These “probable” cases stem from Carroll countians who tested positive with what’s called an antigen test — rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites like the one at the Carroll County Agricultural Center — according to health department spokesperson Maggie Kunz. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers such test results as “presumptive laboratory evidence,” Kunz said, so the health department will not consider these results as confirmed cases.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped again, to 1.17% through Tuesday — the lowest it has been since Aug. 21, when it was 1.01%. The statewide rate Maryland reports has also dropped to 2.6%, again setting a new low.

The number of Carroll countians who have been released from isolation after contracting COVID-19 remained at 1,102 Wednesday, and the number of community members who have been hospitalized for the disease also was flat, at 120.

McDaniel College has reported a total of 11 positive COVID-19 tests among its campus population, from a total of 1,865 tests administered.

Of the 1,227 community members to test positive in Carroll, 23 are younger than 10 years old; 147 are in the 10-19 range; 276 are 20-29 years old; 152 are 30-39; 174 are 40-49; 249 are 50-59; 131 are 60-69; 42 are 70-79; 32 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s. Women have accounted for 631 of the positive tests, and men 596.

According to health department data, countywide, Carroll has seen 1,908 total cases. Westminster has the most, with 644 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 505, Mount Airy with 233, Manchester with 139, Hampstead with 90, Finksburg with 88, Taneytown with 66, New Windsor with 40, Marriottsville with 29, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 22 and Union Bridge with 17. 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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