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Those in 10-29 age group fueling new community cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County

Of the 13 new community cases of COVID-19 announced by the Carroll County Health Department on Thursday afternoon, 11 of them were positive tests among those aged 10 to 29, illustrating what has been a major driver of new cases over the past two months.

As recently as July 10, there had been just 30 cases in Carroll countians aged 10-19 and 93 among those aged 20-29, representing 22.6% of all community cases to that point. Through Thursday, those numbers had risen to 111 and 220 with that age group accounting for 42% of the community cases (208 of 495) since July 10.

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Health Officer Ed Singer spoke during the Board of County Commissioners meeting Thursday morning and told the commissioners younger people are “where we’re seeing a lot of cases,” speculating that they’re getting frustrated by not being able see their friends.

There have been few hospitalizations or deaths among the young — only three people 17 or under have been hospitalized and there have been 27 hospitalizations (and one death) among those 18 to 44, according to health department data through Aug. 20. But, “They’re definitely contracting the virus, they’re definitely spreading the virus,” Singer told the commissioners. “Everything that we’re doing is to try and protect our most vulnerable.”

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With the COVID-19 cases reported by about 2 p.m. Thursday, Carroll County had already seen more new community cases than in either of the past two full weeks.

The 13 new positive of tests among members of the community outside of facilities like nursing homes, means that Carroll County has seen 45 community cases this week (after two adjustments of previously reported cases), according to the health department. The county saw 36 new community cases last week and 37 the week before. Carroll had seen weeks of 61 and 54 community cases since hitting a high of 109 the week beginning July 26.

Singer acknowledged that the numbers were up this week, but that he wasn’t overly concerned.

“I’m sure we’re going to be on a bit of an uptick going into next week,” Singer said, but also expressing optimism that Carroll can get under the 35 cases per week he used as an important metric for deciding when it would be safe for students should return to in-person learning. “I still think we’re going to be there when we get to that point, unless people stop doing the right things. ...

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“We’re in a pretty good place, but people need to stay vigilant. We might see a slight uptick this week, but hopefully it will start trending back down.”

Carroll’s positivity rate, the rate at which tests of county residents return positive, rose to 2.23%, reported as a seven-day rolling average based on data from the Maryland Department of Health. That’s the highest it has been since Aug. 4. The statewide rate is 3.41%.

With one case previously identified as a community case reclassified as a Carroll countian who works at Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Winfield, the number of cases among residents and staff at Carroll’s congregate living facilities rose to 678.

Carroll County has seen 1,037 community cases with 886 having been released from isolation. Of the community members to test positive in Carroll, 21 are younger than 10 years old; 111 are in the 10-19 range; 220 are 20-29 years old; 130 are 30-39; 157 are 40-49; 223 are 50-59; 108 are 60-69; 40 are 70-79; 26 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s. Women have accounted for 526 of the positive tests, and men 511.

According to health department data, Carroll has seen 1,702 total COVID-19 cases. Westminster has the most, with 576 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 462, Mount Airy with 213, Manchester with 124, Finksburg with 76, Hampstead with 69, Taneytown with 64, New Windsor with 38, Keymar with 28, Marriottsville with 26, Woodbine with 18 and Union Bridge with 17. 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.

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