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Carroll County adds 8 COVID-19 cases, keeping pace for week-over-week decline

Carroll County appears to be ending the week with a decline in COVID-19 cases among community members relative to last week.

With eight more cases announced by the Carroll County Health Department on Friday, there have been 33 new cases confirmed since Sunday, with one more day left to add to that weekly total. All of these cases are among county residents not living in congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes.

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Barring a large increase Saturday, the weekly rate will have declined from last week, when 53 cases were reported. The previous week, 74 were announced, and there were 88 the week before that.

The health department is targeting a maximum of 84 cases over a 14-day period, for a daily rate of six cases, in order for there to be a “moderate” risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. That rate would amount to 42 weekly cases; that would include cases originating from congregate living facilities, though only four such cases have been announced in September so far.

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That target was calculated based on recent guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a health department spokesperson said. Currently, based on the number of cases seen in the past two weeks, Carroll is at “higher” risk of transmission in schools, according to the CDC guidance.

On Wednesday evening, the Carroll County Board of Education decided to go forward with its plan to have teachers back in schools Oct. 5 and students learning in schools part of the time two weeks after that. These benchmarks from the health department are intended to help guide the school board’s decision-making process, though the decision lies with that board.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, ticked up slightly to 1.4% through Thursday. The statewide rate that Maryland reports dropped slightly to 2.51%, the seventh straight day it set a new low for the pandemic.

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.

Five more probable cases were reported Friday, bringing that total to 60. 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 such as the one at the Carroll County Agriculture 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.

McDaniel College has reported 12 COVID-19 cases from its campus population, out of a total of 1,868 tests administered.

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

Of the 1,244 community members to test positive in Carroll, 23 are younger than 10 years old; 152 are in the 10-19 range; 278 are 20-29 years old; 153 are 30-39; 176 are 40-49; 251 are 50-59; 134 are 60-69; 42 are 70-79; 33 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 642 of the positive tests, and men 602.

According to health department data, countywide, Carroll has seen 1,925 total cases. Westminster has the most, with 651 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 505, Mount Airy with 235, Manchester with 139, Hampstead with 90, Finksburg with 89, Taneytown with 70, New Windsor with 41, Marriottsville with 31, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 22 and Union Bridge with 17. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

The Ag Center testing site will be closed Sunday, Sept. 27, to accommodate an event but will reopen the following Tuesday, according to the health department.

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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