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Cases of COVID-19 in Carroll County Public Schools up 30% in a week, number with symptoms also climbing

Coronavirus cases inside Carroll County Public Schools are on the rise, and the number of people with symptoms had its biggest jump since the weekly tabulations began.

The CCPS online dashboard, which tracks COVID-19 metrics inside county school buildings, reported this week that 82 people —15 staff members and 67 students — tested positive for the virus. That is 19 more than last week, or about a 30% increase.

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The dashboard, which is updated every Wednesday, also showed that 88 more people attending in-person have symptoms compared with last week, a 65% jump. Of the 223 people currently listed with symptoms, 212 are students.

Positive cases in elementary schools remain relatively low with the five cases at Piney Ridge being the most at that level. The highest numbers at other levels include Oklahoma Road Middle School with six cases and Century High School with seven.

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The number of people with symptoms is high on the elementary level. Cranberry Station has 22, Sandymount and Westminster each have 15, Runnymede has 13 and Winfield has 10. Mount Airy Middle School has 10 people with symptoms as does Century.

New cases

The Carroll County Health Department reported 36 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon, all among community members. There have been 104 cases so far this week after 204 were reported last week. That was up from 152 the previous week and nearly double the 104 reported the week of Feb. 21, which was the last of seven consecutive weeks of declining totals.

Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, rose to 5.8% It has been over 5% — the threshold the World Health Organization recommends jurisdictions stay below before lifting restrictions — since March 22 after dipping as low as 2.45% on March 4.

Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, reported as an average over the past seven days, rose to 19.59, the highest it has been since Feb. 10. This rate had been as low as 7.46 in early March after having peaked at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

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No deaths were reported. There have been 228 total COVID-19 fatalities among Carroll countians, 58 members of the community and 170 residents of congregate living facilities.

Around the state

There were 1,366 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, the Maryland Department of Health reported, a day after the number of daily cases dipped below 1,000 for the first time in six days. Thirteen more Marylanders were reported dead from COVID-19, brining the disease’s death toll to 8,101 in the state, according to the health department.

After jumping Tuesday above the World Health Organization’s 5% testing positivity bench mark for government’s lifting coronavirus restrictions, Maryland’s rate rose to 5.3%, 0.06 percentage points higher than the day before.

Providers across Maryland administered 70,373 coronavirus vaccines Tuesday, a new immunization reporting record in the state, according to health department metrics.

Vaccine

The Carroll County Health Department is currently scheduling appointment-only vaccination clinics for people in all phases through 2A, including essential workers in 1C who live or work in Carroll, and residents age 60-64 (2A). According to the health department’s vaccine information webpage, vaccinations will open to residents under 60 with health conditions soon (2B). Residents 65 and over continue to have priority.

Eligible county residents who have not yet completed the health department’s interest form should do so at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms or call 410-876-4848 for assistance. The state of Maryland is open to people in phases 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A and 2B. Go to coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#locator or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX for information on vaccination options at pharmacies, larger clinics and mass vaccination sites. Several pharmacies in Carroll County are now offering vaccines.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 6,994 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,592 women and 3,402 men. By age group:

0-9: 271

10-19: 835

20-29: 1,247

30-39: 981

40-49: 943

50-59: 1,306

60-69: 827

70-79: 403

80-89: 156

90-99: 25

Total cases

Carroll has reported 8,210 total COVID-19 cases. By ZIP code (those with fewer than seven cases are not listed):

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 2,042

21157 (Westminster): 1,826

21158 (Westminster): 1,003

21771 (Mount Airy): 658

21074 (Hampstead): 590

21102 (Manchester): 517

21787 (Taneytown): 483

21048 (Finksburg): 430

21776 (New Windsor): 225

21797 (Woodbine): 141

21104 (Marriottsville): 120

21791 (Union Bridge): 98

21757 (Keymar): 65

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also reported 13 new probable cases, making a total of 2,680 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.

Hospitalizations

Carroll Hospital had 27 patients positive for COVID-19 through March 27, according to the Carroll County Health Department, continuing a steady rise. That was up five from the 22 reported on March 22. The previous week, that number had been 11 and on March 9 it had been just three. Additionally, on March 27, two patients were under investigation for COVID-19, seven critical care unit beds were in use, and the total patient census was 153 out of an approximate capacity of 170.

Baltimore Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this article.

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