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Student COVID cases drop to all-time low in Carroll County Public Schools

Jessica Kreh, 14, anticipates the shot as she is administered a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine by Carroll County Public Schools nurse Lynn Runk while Maryland Army National Guard Spc. Hugo Gomez records information during a vaccination clinic for adolescents aged 12-17 hosted by the Carroll County Health Department in Westminster Wednesday, May 19, 2021.
Jessica Kreh, 14, anticipates the shot as she is administered a dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine by Carroll County Public Schools nurse Lynn Runk while Maryland Army National Guard Spc. Hugo Gomez records information during a vaccination clinic for adolescents aged 12-17 hosted by the Carroll County Health Department in Westminster Wednesday, May 19, 2021. (Dylan Slagle)

The number of COVID-19 cases in Carroll County Public Schools has decreased for the fifth week in a row and the number of students with the virus is the lowest it has been since the data has been reported.

The school system has been tracking COVID cases and symptoms since schools started offering in-person learning in the fall. Since then, cases went from steadily rising to some weeks going down and other weeks going up, to now consistently dropping as the cases in the county and state have also declined, corresponding with the availability of vaccine.

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The dashboard, which shows the number of in-person students and staff with the virus, reported 31 people have COVID-19 this week, including 29 students. Last week, 49 people had the virus, including 46 students. The number of student cases is the lowest it’s been since the virus numbers have been reported on the dashboard. On Nov. 11, the first day the school system reported cases on the dashboard, 30 students had the virus.

The number of people with symptoms is not as low, however, not every symptom results in a positive COVID-19 test. Even so, the symptom data has also declined significantly. There were151 people, including 143 students, listed as having symptoms. Last week, the dashboard reported 195 people with symptoms. It’s the fourth week in a row those numbers have declined.

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Most elementary schools had zero COVID cases this week. William Winchester had the most cases with only three. The most cases reported on the middle school level was Oklahoma Road with five and there were only two cases at Liberty High.

For those with symptoms, Cranberry Station had the most on the elementary level with 17 people, Mount Airy Middle has six and Liberty High had five. Zero cases and symptoms were reported this week at Carroll Springs, Central Office and the Plant Maintenance building.

Carroll County Health Department data showed 76 cases for last week after 90 the prior week and 138 the week before that. The last time Carroll had fewer cases than 76 was the week of Oct. 11, when 65 were reported. From that point, cases went steadily up until the county eclipsed 500 cases the first full week of January. From that point, case numbers dropped for seven weeks in a row before rising again past 200 cases for three straight weeks, including 226 the week of April 4.

Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, rose to 2.92%. After reaching 6.57% on April 8, the rate dropped as low as 2.6% on May 22.

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More than 51% of all Carroll County residents have had at least one dose of vaccine and 42.5% are fully vaccinated, according to health department numbers presented at last Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting. Those numbers will be rising, particularly for younger people who are now eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

The first clinic for 12-17-year-olds held by the health department on May 19 drew over 1,100 young people to TownMall of Westminster to be vaccinated. Another clinic for that age group held Wednesday had more than 800 registered with walk-ups allowed.

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