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New COVID-19 case total in Carroll County trending down; one death reported

One day after a county health official downplayed last week’s slight uptick in COVID-19 cases, the Carroll County Health Department released data that shows this week’s case numbers are trending down significantly. The first COVID-19 death of this week was also announced.

The health department reported 79 cases on Friday afternoon covering a four-day period — data is being updated and released only on Mondays and Fridays — with all but one of them community cases.

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There have been 102 COVID-19 cases reported this week for Carroll, down from 129 at the same point last week.

Carroll finished with 155 total cases a week ago. That was an increase over the 146 cases the previous week, which represented a third consecutive weekly decline following 191 the week of April 11 and 227 the week of April 4 after hitting a recent peak of 229 the week of March 28.

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That monthlong trend prompted Health Official Ed Singer to say last week’s case total was “relatively flat” and a “blip on the radar” when speaking at the Board of County Commissioners’ open session Thursday.

Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, reported as an average over the past seven days, dropped to 11.7, the lowest it has been since March 7. The rate had been as low as 7.46 in early March after peaking at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, dropped to 4.74%. That rate has been between 4.55% and 5.32% since April 11. The World Health Organization recommends jurisdictions report a positivity rate below 5% for two weeks before easing coronavirus restrictions.

The health department reported the death of an over-65 resident of Copper Ridge facility in Sykesville. That makes 245 Carroll deaths attributed to the coronavirus, 174 residents of congregate living facilities and 71 members of the wider community. There have been 18 COVID-19 fatalities over the past six weeks.

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Around the state

Friday completed the second week with a statewide positivity rate below 5% and Maryland health officials reported fewer than 1,000 new cases statewide for the ninth straight day. The state reported 768 new, confirmed COVID-19 cases. The daily tally surged as high as 1,840 during April, as health officials feared premature reopenings could complicate the progress of vaccinators statewide. In total, Maryland has reported 452,035 cases of COVID-19.

For the sixth straight day, fewer than 1,000 people with COVID-19 are being treated in state hospitals, an improvement from last month, when as many as 1,282 people were hospitalized with the disease at a time. As of Friday, hospitals were treating 859 COVID-19 patients, down from 901 Thursday.

The state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate dipped to 3.53%.

Vaccine

The Carroll County Health Department is listing upcoming vaccination clinics on its website with links to register. Most clinics going forward will be held at TownMall of Westminster in the space formerly occupied by Sears. Moderna clinics have been set for Tuesday and Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. Clinic dates and times can be found at cchd.maryland.gov/registration-links. Registration is preferred, but walk-ups will be vaccinated. Call 410-876-4848 for more information.

According to Carroll County Health Department data, 47.7% of all Carroll County residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 35.5% are fully vaccinated. While 85% of Carroll residents older than 65 are vaccinated and 72% of those 60 to 64 are vaccinated, the numbers go down from there for each age group: 55% for 50 to 59, 52% for 40 to 49, 48% for 30 to 39, 37% for 20 to 29 and 27% for 16 to 19.

The state of Maryland is in Phase 3 of vaccine eligibility, meaning anyone 16 and older can sign up and receive the vaccine. All Marylanders 16 and older can register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site by going to covidvax.maryland.gov or calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).

Community cases

Carroll has reported 7,925 cases of community members who have tested positive. Age group data:

0-9: 356

10-19: 967

20-29: 1,393

30-39: 1,100

40-49: 1,054

50-59: 1,459

60-69: 940

70-79: 456

80-89: 171

90-99: 29

Total/probable cases

Carroll has reported 9,158 total COVID-19 cases.

In addition to those, the health department reported 25 probable cases meaning Carroll has seen 3,082 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.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.

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