While the Carroll County Health Department reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday afternoon, more than the past two days combined, no fatalities were reported for the third day in a row.
There were three deaths attributed to COVID-19 last week and three the week before that; those came after four the week of Feb. 7, five the week of Jan. 31 and six the two previous weeks. While a death was reported by the health department on Monday, it had actually occurred the previous week, so there have been no COVID-19 fatalities this week.
“We may see the death number trail off,” Health Officer Ed Singer told the Board of County Commissioners on Thursday morning. “Let’s hope we get back to where we were over the summertime, when we weren’t seeing this number of deaths.”
The health department reported nine COVID-19 deaths in July, August and September combined. Singer has frequently said deaths lag several weeks behind high case numbers. So because Carroll saw more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 the week of Jan. 3 followed by three more weeks of at least 300 cases, a spike in deaths was not necessarily a surprise.
The 35 new cases Thursday brought this week’s total to 64. That’s slightly higher than at the same point last week, when 61 cases had been reported. Updated health department data shows that 102 cases were reported last week after 105 the week before that.
“The numbers are relatively flat,” Singer said.
Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, dropped to 7.46, the lowest it has been since Oct. 27. 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, dropped to 2.61%, the lowest it has been since Oct. 27. It has been below 5% since Feb. 14, having reached 8.34% on Jan. 8.
Singer also told the commissioners that because testing is down at the health department’s Carroll County Agriculture Center site, hours will be cut back there, but the three testing days will remain unchanged. Appointments can be scheduled at the Ag Center for Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
Around the state
Maryland health officials reported 809 new infections Thursday morning, bringing the total count of confirmed infections in the state to 384,765. Friday marks the one-year anniversary of Maryland’s first confirmed cases. Gov. Larry Hogan has officially recognized Friday as COVID-19 Day of Remembrance.
Another 26,000 Marylanders received their first doses of the coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, meaning 15.3% of the state’s 6 million-plus residents are at least partially vaccinated.
County health department data shows that 889 Carroll countians have been vaccinated this week, and Singer said another clinic is scheduled for Friday and clinics will be held in the North Carroll area, Mount Airy and Eldersburg in coming weeks. More than 27,000 county residents have received at least one dose.
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, although the health department has begun vaccinating a small number of those in Phase 1C. Maryland is in 1C, which includes those ages 65 to 74, workers in lab services, agriculture, manufacturing and the Postal Service.
Carroll County officials will hold a virtual town hall at 5 p.m. Tuesday to update residents about the status of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout and answer questions from the public. 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.
Carroll has reported 6,307 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,254 women and 3,053 men. By age range:
Carroll has reported 7,511 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:
21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,855
21157 (Westminster): 1,693
21158 (Westminster): 916
21771 (Mount Airy): 621
21074 (Hampstead): 533
21102 (Manchester): 482
21787 (Taneytown): 449
21048 (Finksburg): 383
21776 (New Windsor): 188
21797 (Woodbine): 122
Carroll County Breaking News
21104 (Marriottsville): 105
21791 (Union Bridge): 90
21757 (Keymar): 62
In addition to the confirmed cases Thursday, Carroll also had 17 new probable cases, making a total of 2,212 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.
Through Tuesday, according to Carroll Hospital, seven patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 — down from 15 the previous week — and 13 patients were under investigation for the virus. Additionally, nine critical care unit beds were in use and the total patient census was 163 (out of an approximate capacity of 170).
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.