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Carroll County reports 7 more COVID-19 cases, removes one death from total

The Carroll County Health Department on Tuesday announced seven more COVID-19 cases and reclassified a death as not being caused by the disease.

A health department spokesperson said the death record for a fatality previously reported from Westminster Healthcare Center was corrected, removing COVID-19 as the cause of death. That lowers the death toll among congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes, in Carroll to 130. After three weeks with none, the health department has reported three deaths among residents of such facilities since Sept. 21.

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The seven new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, were all among community members living outside of congregate living facilities. That raises the week’s total, since Sunday, to 13 cases. One of the cases reported Tuesday was from last week, according to health department spokespeople, raising that week’s total to 43.

Last week was the third in a row to show a week-over-week decline. Its total was down from 53 the prior week, which followed weeks that finished with 74 and 88.

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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 and would include cases originating from congregate living facilities, though only five such cases have been announced in September so far.

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.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, rose to 1.38% through Monday. The statewide rate that Maryland reports stands at 2.59%.

Two more probable cases in Carroll were reported Tuesday, bringing that number to 67. 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 CDC considers such test results as “presumptive laboratory evidence,” Kunz said, so the health department will not consider these results as confirmed cases.

To date, 1,125 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of four since Monday. The total of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic stayed flat at 122.

McDaniel College has reported 15 positive results among members of the campus community, out of 1,930 total tests since Aug. 14.

Of the 1,266 community members to test positive in Carroll, 24 are younger than 10 years old; 157 are in the 10-19 range; 285 are 20-29 years old; 157 are 30-39; 176 are 40-49; 253 are 50-59; 136 are 60-69; 43 are 70-79; 33 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 651 of the positive tests, and men 615.

According to health department data, Carroll has seen 1,948 total cases countywide. Westminster has the most, with 656 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 513, Mount Airy with 239, Manchester with 140, Hampstead and Finksburg with 90 each, Taneytown with 71, New Windsor with 42, Marriottsville with 32, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 23 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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