While Carroll County is virtually assured of its fewest new cases of COVID-19 in a week in nearly three months, the testing done by the county was also greatly reduced this week due to weather conditions.
Carroll County Health Department data updated on Friday showed 59 new cases of COVID-19. For the week, 141 cases have been reported, putting the county on pace for its lowest weekly number of cases since the week of Nov. 8, when 237 were reported. After that, weekly case numbers started reaching the 300s and then the 400s before peaking the week of Jan. 3 with what is now listed as a record 522 cases.
As data continues to be compiled, reconciling numerous transfers of cases originally thought to be Frederick County residents, the totals for the past few weeks continue to rise. Carroll’s total for last week increased to 310, as did the total for the previous week. The week of Jan. 10 went up to 387 cases.
The testing site run by the health department at the Carroll County Agriculture Center on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays administered by far the fewest weekly tests in 2021 over the past week, as 191 individuals were tested. Tuesday’s session was canceled and Sunday’s numbers were likely reduced by a snowstorm that began Sunday morning and lasted through Tuesday.
One day of testing was also canceled last week and Carroll still administered 298 tests. According to the health department, 672 people received tests at the Ag Center facility the week of Jan. 3, 498 were tested the week of Jan. 10, and 431 the week of Jan. 17.
The case rate per 100,000 residents in Carroll County, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped by 1.3 percentage points to 18.4. That’s less than half of what it was in mid-January. Carroll’s positivity rate, also reported as a seven-day rolling average, rose to 6.24%.
Maryland reported 1,547 cases of COVID-19 and 35 deaths Friday. It was the second day in a row with more than 1,500 new cases after new case counts dropped below 1,000 Tuesday and Wednesday. Maryland’s positivity rate rose slightly to 5.94%.
The state had a “soft launch” for its first mass vaccine sites on Friday.
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. Some 15,000 county residents have received at least their first dose.
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.
Eight of the newly reported cases were from congregate living facilities, seven residents of Brightview and one resident of Westminster Healthcare Center, site of a new active outbreak. According to the health department website, 13 elder care facilities and two correctional facilities have active outbreaks.
In addition to the 59 new cases reported Friday, Carroll also had 33 new probable cases, making a total of 1,802 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.
There have been two COVID-19 deaths reported over the past week, one a resident of a congregate living facility and one a member of the wider community. The week of Jan. 24 saw five community COVID-19 deaths in Carroll, the most recorded.
Of the 5,803 community members who have tested positive in Carroll, 216 are younger than 10 years old; 650 are in the 10-19 range; 1,035 are 20-29 years old; 830 are 30-39; 798 are 40-49; 1,088 are 50-59; 697 are 60-69; 329 are 70-79; 137 are 80-89; and 23 are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 3,014 of the positive tests, and men for 2,787.
Of Carroll’s 6,960 total COVID-19 cases, Westminster has seen the most with 2,401 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 1,731, Mount Airy with 565, Hampstead with 503, Manchester with 442, Taneytown with 425, Finksburg with 346, New Windsor with 181, 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.
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.
Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this report.