Health Officer Ed Singer has been saying since January that the Carroll County Health Department has the capacity to administer many more doses of COVID-19 vaccine than the less-than-requested 1,000 or so allotted each week by the state.
The health department will get the chance to give more shots over the next few weeks thanks to a partnership that will provide 4,680 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine (2,340 each for first doses and second doses) for use in clinics, according to a joint news release from Carroll County Government, Carroll Hospital’s parent company LifeBridge Health and the Carroll County Health Department.
This additional vaccine will allow the health department to offer appointments to individuals in Phases 1A and 1B, including every Carroll County resident 75 or older, and to open vaccination appointments to residents 65-74, the release stated. County government staff members are assisting with registration and vaccination clinics, making this a multiagency effort.
“We are very fortunate to have a great relationship with Carroll Hospital and our county government. We all share the same goal of vaccinating people at highest risk as quickly as possible,” Singer said via the release. “Our partners share vaccine, staff, and many other resources to help us reach different at-risk and underserved populations, such as health care workers and first responders, teachers, the homeless, and people at the detention center. We are also asking our community partners to help us reach seniors who are not connected to services, and minorities who are at higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.”
Over the next three weeks, the health department is scheduling clinics in community senior centers or schools to reach county residents in Phase 1B. County residents 75 and over and adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities should call 410-876-4848 to request an appointment, according to the release. Family members and friends are also welcome to assist others with the registration process.
“LifeBridge Health is proud to partner with the Carroll County Health Department to ensure we can reach our most vulnerable populations as soon as possible,” Leslie Simmons, executive vice president and chief operating officer of LifeBridge Health, said via the release. “It is vital that those who are eligible for the vaccine have access to receive it. We’re all in this together for the health of our community.”
As spaces permit, additional appointment slots in each clinic will open to residents 65 and over. County residents who are 65 and over who have not yet completed the health department interest form should do so at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms.
Essential workers identified in Phase 1C, and people in other groups, can also complete an interest form to be contacted at a later time. The State of Maryland is open to all people in Phase 1C. They can visit coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#locator or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX for information on vaccination options at pharmacies, larger clinics, and mass vaccination sites. Several pharmacies in Carroll County are now offering the vaccine.
The community partners are also working together to reach homebound and underserved residents with a mobile team, according to the release.
Homebound clients, identified by county agencies, are contacted by health department staff, who also schedule the LifeBridge Health mobile team to vaccinate those individuals in their homes. CCHD conducted a joint clinic with LifeBridge Health for a senior housing facility where many residents had mobility problems, vaccinating 72 senior residents, the release stated, and CCHD and county government also worked together to vaccinate homeless shelter guests and staff. Additional joint ventures are planned.
“These are more examples of how Carroll County partnerships between medical systems, public health and local government excel at coordination,” said Commissioner President Ed Rothstein. “Working together cooperatively is how we protect and provide the best for our community.”
COVID-19 in CCPS
The number of COVID-19 cases among Carroll County Public Schools students and staff who are attending in-person learning went up slightly since last week. The CCPS dashboard that tracks coronavirus reports that the number of positive cases went from 60 to 69. The number of staff with the virus dropped by three and the number of students with the virus increased by 12.
Sandymount Elementary had five cases (the most at the elementary level), Mount Airy Middle had three (highest among middle schools) and Westminster High School had 12 (the most of any high school).
The number of people with symptoms went from 88 to 90 this week with 78 students showing symptoms, according to the dashboard, which is updated each Wednesday.
The health department reported 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon, bringing to 68 the number of positive tests this week. That’s on a pace to be slightly lower than the 150 cases reported last week, which surpassed the 121 from the previous week. Carroll had 104 cases the week of Feb. 21, the lowest total since mid-November.
Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, decreased to 12.64 after having climbed over 14 earlier in the week for the first time since Feb. 14. This 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, remained at 4.75%. The rate has been below 5% since Feb. 13.
According to health department data, there have been no congregate living facility cases this week after just two were reported last week. Since Feb. 14, there have been 13 facilities cases. By contrast, there had been 88 facility cases the previous four weeks.
Around the state
Maryland reported 917 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, increasing the state’s case count to 395,633 since health officials began monitoring the disease more than a year ago. Nineteen more Marylanders were reported dead from COVID-19 Wednesday, with the disease’s casualty count rising to 7,915 people in the state.
Maryland health officials reported 46,737 vaccines were administered across the state Wednesday. About 31,576 received an initial immunization of the two-dose vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna and 14,415 received their second dose. Just 746 people received one of the single-dose immunizations made by Johnson & Johnson.
Carroll has reported 6,607 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,392 women and 3,215 men. By age range:
Carroll has reported 7,815 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:
21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,947
21157 (Westminster): 1,754
21158 (Westminster): 947
21771 (Mount Airy): 636
21074 (Hampstead): 558
21102 (Manchester): 500
21787 (Taneytown): 458
21048 (Finksburg): 407
21776 (New Windsor): 197
21797 (Woodbine): 130
21104 (Marriottsville): 112
21791 (Union Bridge): 94
21757 (Keymar): 63
In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also had 14 new probable cases, making a total of 2,393 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.
On Tuesday, according to Carroll Hospital, 11 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 — as recently as March 8 that number had been just three — and five patients were under investigation for the virus. Additionally, nine critical care unit beds were in use and the total patient census was at 162 out of an approximate capacity of 170.
Latest Carroll County News
Baltimore Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this article.