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Carroll County officials to answer COVID-19 vaccine questions during virtual town hall; 20 new cases reported

Carroll County officials will hold a virtual town hall on Tuesday, March 9 at 5 p.m. to update residents about the status of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout and answer questions from the public.

Board of County Commissioners President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, and Health Officer Ed Singer will jointly head the meeting, according to a news release from the Carroll County Health Department and Carroll County Government.

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“There seems to be a lot of confusion and uncertainty regarding vaccination information which causes anxiety for our residents,” said Rothstein in the news release. “With the county receiving almost daily updates and changes on vaccination information, we believe this webinar provides a good opportunity to accurately report the county’s current plans and status to our community members and answer their questions.”

Questions can be submitted via an online question form on the county government’s website. The event’s organizers are expecting a large number of questions and are asking residents to submit questions online ahead of time.

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Singer said he is looking forward to answering questions and hopes to “provide an update on our progress in vaccinating people who live or work in Carroll County.”

Carroll remains in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which means residents who are at least 75 years old and educators are eligible to be vaccinated at health department clinics. Also part of 1B are those essential for “continuity of government.” Maryland is in Phase 1C, which includes those aged 65-74, workers in lab services, agriculture, manufacturing and the Postal Service.

Carroll’s health department is asking residents who want to receive the vaccine to complete interest forms for their phase of vaccination. These forms can be found online at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms. More information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Carroll County can be found on the health department’s page at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-vaccination.

New cases

The Carroll County Health Department reported 20 new cases of COVID-19, with no new fatalities, on Tuesday. Two of the cases were at congregate living facilities — one a staff member at Pleasant View Nursing Home, one a case at a facility so small in numbers that the health department doesn’t name it because of privacy issues. Three elder care facilities and the Central Maryland Correctional Facility are sites of current outbreaks in Carroll. The other 18 new cases were among members of the wider community.

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There have been 25 new positive COVID-19 tests recorded this week, according to the health department. Through Tuesday of last week, 31 total cases had been reported en route to a weekly total of what has been recalculated to 101 cases, the fewest since mid-October and the seventh consecutive week of declining cases since Carroll hit a post-holiday surge peak of more than 500 cases the first full week of January.

Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, dropped to 8.06, the lowest it has been since Oct. 29. The case rate peaked at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

Carroll’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, rose slightly to 2.93%. It has been below 5% since Feb. 14, having reached 8.34% on Jan. 8.

Around the state

Maryland reported 468 new infections Tuesday, the first day with fewer than 500 new cases since Oct. 21 and the fewest since Oct. 6. Tuesday’s new cases were discovered among about 11,000 test results, Maryland’s second-lowest daily total since Sept. 8.

Nearly 20,000 Marylanders received their first doses of coronavirus vaccine Monday, meaning 14.5% of the state’s 6 million-plus residents are at least partially vaccinated. About 8% are fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both of the shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines needed for best protection.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 6,264 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,231 women and 3,033 men. By age range:

0-9: 236

10-19: 718

20-29: 1,119

30-39: 875

40-49: 847

50-59: 1,180

60-69: 749

70-79: 370

80-89: 146

90-99: 24

Total cases

Carroll has reported 7,467 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,847

21157 (Westminster): 1,677

21158 (Westminster): 909

21771 (Mount Airy): 620

21074 (Hampstead): 532

21102 (Manchester): 482

21787 (Taneytown): 449

21048 (Finksburg): 375

21776 (New Windsor): 188

21797 (Woodbine): 122

21104 (Marriottsville): 102

21791 (Union Bridge): 90

21757 (Keymar): 62

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also had 10 new probable cases, making a total of 2,165 probables since the beginning of the pandemic. These are patients who test positive using a rapid antigen test, rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites. The health department doesn’t consider these results to be confirmed cases.

Hospitalizations

The county health department reported one new hospitalizations of residents for COVID-19. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for the virus is up to 430, 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.

Baltimore Sun reporter Nathan Ruiz contributed to this article.

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