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Carroll County sees 46 new COVID-19 cases; health official urges workers to stay home if sick

While the number of new community cases of COVID-19 dropped last week, the total was still higher than any of the four previous weeks and it has the county’s top health official concerned that some have ceased taking the crisis as seriously as they should.

Last week, there were 73 community cases — those among members of the wider community, outside of congregate living facilities such as nursing homes — according to Carroll County Health Department data released Monday afternoon. That was down from 88 the previous week. But over the four weeks prior to that, Carroll had been averaging 48 new community cases per week.

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“Contact tracing was off the hook over the weekend,” Health Officer Ed Singer said Monday morning, noting that instead of having to get in touch with perhaps three people who had come into close contact with an individual who tested positive he was reaching out to more like 20 as many have resumed previous behaviors and are socializing more. He said it remains critical that everyone continues utilizing social distancing and wearing masks.

He also said he is having to serve isolation and quarantine orders “more than I want to,” as some who have tested positive are continuing to work, thereby putting others in danger.

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“I don’t know how you can’t understand, if you’re sick, don’t go to work and take the chance of making others sick,” Singer said. "Ninety-five percent of people are receptive and do the right thing.

“It’s not a joke when you get it,” Singer continued, referring to COVID-19, noting he knows people younger than him who’ve been hospitalized with it. “It can be very serious for some. And some don’t have any symptoms.”

There were 46 total new cases reported Monday. Four of them — three residents and one staff member — were from Fairhaven, a senior facility in Sykesville that had not seen a case since Aug. 7. Additionally, a staff member who lives outside of Carroll County but works at Carroll Lutheran Village tested positive. Both facilities now have “active outbreak” status on the health department website, bringing to five the total number of Carroll facilities listed as active sites.

The four new cases mean there have been 682 positive tests among residents and staffers at congregate living facilities in Carroll. Before Monday, there had been only one new case at a county facility in September.

McDaniel College in Westminster reported one new COVID-19 case among its campus population. The college has seen nine positive tests out of 1,449 that have been administered.

“I’ve been really happy with McDaniel,” Singer said. “They’ve been able to manage it while some other colleges let it get out of control.”

Twenty-two of the 42 new community cases in Carroll are among those who are 10 to 30 years old. Twenty-six went toward last week’s totals, 16 count for the week beginning Sept. 13.

The health department reported that 1,004 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of 47 since Friday. The number of community members who have been hospitalized remained unchanged, at 116.

Carroll’s positivity rate, the rate at which tests of county residents return positive reported as a seven-day rolling average, is 2.45% through Sunday. The rate, which is based on data from the Maryland Department of Health, has been below 3% since Aug. 3. Maryland reported the statewide rate as 3.54%.

According to health department data, Carroll has seen 1,853 total cases of COVID-19. Of the 1,171 community members to test positive in Carroll, 23 are younger than 10 years old; 140 are in the 10-19 range; 258 are 20-29 years old; 143 are 30-39; 170 are 40-49; 241 are 50-59; 124 are 60-69; 41 are 70-79; 30 are 80-89; and one is in their 90s. Women have accounted for 609 of the positive tests, and men 561.

Westminster has the most total cases, with 624 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 494, Mount Airy with 224, Manchester with 136, Hampstead with 86, Finksburg with 81, Taneytown with 65, New Windsor with 40, Marriottsville with 29, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 22 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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