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Carroll County trending toward fourth straight week of declining COVID-19 cases; commissioner in quarantine

Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein typically leads the Board of Commissioners meetings from the county government building in Westminster.

On Thursday, he participated virtually and disclosed to those watching the livestream that he is under quarantine because his son and wife both tested positive for COVID-19.

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“I’m looking for strength, courage and sanity — I’m stuck in the house,” Rothstein said, noting he had taken two COVID-19 tests and tested negative both times. “I’m going by [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines, I’m staying away. I have not traveled outside of the house.”

Rothstein complimented the contact tracers who got in touch with his family and asked numerous questions, encouraging everyone to disclose all information.

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“Let’s be honest about everything and let’s be up front,” he said, “because the only way we’re going to get through this is by doing just that.”

County Health Officer Ed Singer thanked Rothstein for sharing his story.

“Commissioner, I appreciate you setting the appropriate example and following the CDC guidelines and [thank] everyone in the community that’s been cooperative because we know how inconvenient it can be. But it does make a big difference,” Singer said.

On Thursday afternoon, the health department released data showing 49 new cases of COVID-19.

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Carroll is trending toward a fourth consecutive week of declining case numbers. The county has reported 105 cases this week, while there had been 188 total cases at the same point last week. A snowstorm that lasted from Sunday to Tuesday limited the number of people getting tests at the Carroll County Agriculture Center and could be part of the reason case numbers are much lower this week.

Case numbers from previous weeks continue to rise as data is reconciled, including adding cases that were originally thought to be from Frederick County. Carroll’s total for last week increased to 305, to 308 the prior week, to 383 the week of Jan. 10 and to 517 the week of Jan. 3, the highest weekly total Carroll has reported.

The case rate per 100,000 residents in Carroll County, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped by 2.88 percentage points to 19.76. That’s less than half of what it was in mid-January. Carroll’s positivity rate, also reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped by nearly half a point to 6.05%.

Maryland reported 1,554 cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths Thursday morning. Maryland’s positivity rate dropped slightly to 5.89%.

Carroll had 90 new probable cases, making a total of 1,769 probables. 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.

Four of the newly reported cases were from congregate living facilities: two Brightview residents, one Lorien Mount Airy resident and one Sunrise of Carroll County staff member. According to the health department website, 12 elder care facilities and two correctional facilities have active outbreaks.

Of the 5,752 community members who have tested positive in Carroll, 213 are younger than 10 years old; 645 are in the 10-19 range; 1,029 are 20-29 years old; 820 are 30-39; 792 are 40-49; 1,081 are 50-59; 686 are 60-69; 328 are 70-79; 135 are 80-89; and 23 are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 2,991 of the positive tests, and men for 2,761 while one is unknown.

Of Carroll’s 6,901 total COVID-19 cases, Westminster has seen the most with 2,382 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 1,723, Mount Airy with 541, Hampstead with 501, Manchester with 437, Taneytown with 425, Finksburg with 346, New Windsor with 180, Woodbine with 119, Marriottsville with 93, Union Bridge with 83 and Keymar with 59. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

Singer also discussed vaccine distribution in Carroll during the commissioners meeting. He said the health department has administered 6,064 first doses through Wednesday and some 500 more were scheduled for Thursday.

Carroll is 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 by the health department. The 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 the state phases can be found at covidlink.maryland.gov/content/vaccine. 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.

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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