On Thursday morning, Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer briefed the Board of County Commissioners on the current spike in COVID-19 cases in the county.
On Thursday afternoon, the Carroll County Health Department announced 65 new cases confirmed over the past two days, putting the county on pace for its worst week since the pandemic began.
Among the new cases were five positive tests among members of congregate living facilities. Two residents tested positive at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster, and three cases were reported at small facilities that the health department does not name because of privacy reasons. That brings the number of cases that have been seen in Carroll living facilities to 703.
The other 60 cases were among members of the community at large, four of which were confirmations of previously announced probable cases. Two of the 60 were found to be from last week, when 146 confirmed community cases were seen, surpassing the previous weekly high by 38.
With 58 new cases reported on Veterans Day and Thursday, Carroll has seen 127 cases with two days remaining this week, on track to easily surpass last week’s record number.
“It doesn’t look like this is heading in the other direction anytime soon,” Singer told the commissioners.
He said the reason for the spike, which is occurring throughout Maryland and in much of the United States, is because of social gatherings — mentioning birthday and Halloween parties — rather than noncompliance with guidelines. Still, Singer and the commissioners called on residents to continue wearing masks, social distancing and practicing good hygiene.
“These numbers are really, really bad,” said Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5. He added, however, that if everyone does the right thing, “we’re going to get through this.”
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With a net increase of 10, Carroll has now had 175 probable cases. The 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, 1,689 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of 45 over two days. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic remained at 135, according to the health department.
Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, jumped to 4.78% as of Wednesday, the highest it has been since June 5. The statewide rate rose to 5.65%.
McDaniel College announced no new positive tests and has seen 20 members of its campus community test positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 2,748 tests conducted since Aug. 14.
Of the 1,887 community members to test positive in Carroll, 46 are younger than 10 years old; 236 are in the 10-19 range; 379 are 20-29 years old; 236 are 30-39; 267 are 40-49; 369 are 50-59; 216 are 60-69; 90 are 70-79; 45 are 80-89; and three are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 977 of the positive tests, and men for 909.
According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 2,590 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 895 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 653, Mount Airy with 296, Manchester with 169, Hampstead with 130, Finksburg with 128, Taneytown with 107, New Windsor with 65, Marriottsville with 43, Woodbine with 38, Keymar with 30 and Union Bridge with 24. 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.