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Carroll County Health Dept.: Two elder care residents die of COVID-19; weekly community cases decline again

Two more residents of elder care facilities in Carroll County have died of COVID-19 even as the number of weekly community cases declined for the third week in a row.

One of the deceased lived at Brinton Woods Health and Rehabilitation Center at Winfield and the other at Birch Manor Healthcare Center in Sykesville, according to the Carroll County Health Department.

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After three weeks with no fatalities, the health department has reported four deaths among residents of congregate living facilities since Sept. 21. That brings the number of coronavirus-related fatalities at such Carroll County facilities to 131.

Additionally, one Carroll Lutheran Village staff member and one Lorien Taneytown staff member (who lives outside of Carroll County) tested positive, meaning those are both now considered sites of active outbreaks by the health department.

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The health department announced a net gain of 15 cases among members of the wider community. Seven of those were reported Sunday or Monday.

The other eight cases count toward last week’s community cases total of 41, which is subject to change based on later data adjustments. That was down from 53 the week before, which followed weeks of 74 and 88.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped to 1.16 through Sunday, the lowest it has been since Aug. 21. The statewide rate that Maryland reports is 2.51%.

McDaniel College has had four positive tests over the past week, causing the school to raise its alert status to Yellow. There have been 15 positive results out of 1,868 total tests of members of the campus community since Aug. 14.

Additionally, five more probable cases in Carroll were reported Monday, bringing that number to 65. These “probable” cases stem from Carroll countians who tested positive with what’s called an antigen test — rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites such as the one at the Carroll County Agriculture Center — according to health department spokesperson Maggie Kunz. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers such test results as “presumptive laboratory evidence,” Kunz said, so the health department will not consider these results as confirmed cases.

To date, 1,121 Carroll countians have been released from isolation, an increase of 19 since Friday. And two more community members were hospitalized, bringing that total since the beginning of the pandemic to 122.

Of the 1,259 community members to test positive in Carroll, 24 are younger than 10 years old; 155 are in the 10-19 range; 284 are 20-29 years old; 155 are 30-39; 176 are 40-49; 252 are 50-59; 135 are 60-69; 43 are 70-79; 33 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 648 of the positive tests, and men 611.

According to health department data, countywide, Carroll has seen 1,941 total cases. Westminster has the most, with 656 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 510, Mount Airy with 237, Manchester with 139, Hampstead and Finksburg with 90, Taneytown with 70, New Windsor with 42, Marriottsville with 32, Keymar with 28, Woodbine with 23 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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