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With COVID-19 cases rising in Carroll County, so are noncompliance, ICU bed usage, demand for tests

Carroll County’s top health official said Thursday morning that with the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, so is noncompliance among certain businesses, ICU bed usage and the demand for tests.

On Thursday afternoon, the Carroll County Health Department announced 26 new cases as well as the death of a member of the community.

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A woman among the over-65 population died of COVID-19 the last week of October. It was the first fatality of a Carroll countian attributed to the novel coronavirus since Oct. 21. Carroll has seen 152 deaths, 131 of them residents of congregate living facilities and, now, 21 of them members of the wider community.

The 26 cases announced Thursday bring to 75 the number of community cases this week (82 overall), meaning Carroll is on pace to surpass the 100 community cases of last week and possibly the 108 from the week beginning July 26 that is the highest total to date.

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“Obviously, the numbers are doing what they’re doing. We knew as we got to the fall we were probably going to see some upticks as we were forced back inside,” County Health Officer Ed Singer said Thursday morning during the weekly Board of Commissioners meeting.

He was asked if noncompliance regarding mitigation measures was on the rise and he said it was, using as an example restaurant/bars that have live entertainment. He said one such establishment, which he declined to name, recently booked a band from Pennsylvania to perform that brought many fans with it who not only were noncompliant, but were “in your face” with their noncompliance.

“We’re getting to the point where there’s a couple of facilities we’re dealing with where there’s a real potential for them having to close because they’re noncompliant,” Singer told the commissioners.

He also detailed the way ICU bed usage has been on the rise, with at least 10 beds in use five days last week, peaking at 13. He said hospital resources are stressed when 10 ICU beds or more are needed.

Singer said the demand for COVID-19 tests at the county-run facility at the Carroll County Agriculture Center has been high, estimating that more than 100 people are being tested each day and that roughly five to 15 are testing positive.

″We’re seeing a lot more sick people than we were initially with the testing," he said, instructing Carroll residents to go the health department website to register for an appointment at the Ag Center, which is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, or to secure an order for a test through their doctor.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped to 3.09% through Wednesday. The statewide rate rose to 4.21%.

To date, 1,551 Carroll countians have been released from isolation. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic remained at 133.

McDaniel College has seen 19 members of its campus community test positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 2,687 tests conducted since Aug. 14.

Of the 1,690 community members to test positive in Carroll, 38 are younger than 10 years old; 207 are in the 10-19 range; 348 are 20-29 years old; 210 are 30-39; 240 are 40-49; 340 are 50-59; 192 are 60-69; 72 are 70-79; 40 are 80-89; and two are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 874 of the positive tests, and men 815.

According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 2,385 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 811 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 607, Mount Airy with 282, Manchester with 159, Hampstead with 120, Finksburg with 118, Taneytown with 94, New Windsor with 58, Marriottsville with 38, Woodbine with 33, Keymar with 30, and Union Bridge with 22. 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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