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Carroll County Public Schools reports highest number of students with COVID, modest overall case uptick

Cases of COVID-19 within Carroll County Public Schools have been up and down over the past few weeks. This week, they are back up, nearly identical to the case totals of two weeks ago.

The school system’s dashboard, which reports on COVID-19 cases and symptoms of students and staff members who attend school in person, reported 98 people, including 85 students, have the virus this week. By three, that’s the most students reported with COVID-19 in the 17 weeks the dashboard has tracked it, although more total people had the virus two weeks in January. Last week, CCPS reported 76 students with the virus after 82 the week before that.

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Overall, the number of people in schools with COVID-19 increased by 10 over last week. But the week previous to that had seen 97 total cases, just one fewer than this week. The total includes new cases and people who contracted the virus earlier but have not been released from quarantine. Therefore, some people may be counted multiple weeks.

The number of people with COVID-like symptoms increased by 20 since last week. Of the 235 people with symptoms, 225 are students.

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Case numbers on the elementary level remain low. Eldersburg and Winfield elementary schools each have four cases, the most at that level. North Carroll Middle School has six cases and Century High School has 15. In the past three weeks, Century has had the most cases out of all the high schools and is the only school with case numbers in double-digits.

The number of people with virus-like symptoms are higher. Virus symptoms are similar to seasonal allergies, which are common during this time of year. Winfield Elementary has 15 people with symptoms, the most on the elementary level, but a few schools are not far behind. East Middle has 12 and Century has 10.

New cases

The Carroll County Health Department reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon — two cases at congregate living facilities so small the health department does not identify them out of privacy concerns and 25 among the wider community. No deaths were announced after five Carroll County residents died from the coronavirus last week.

There have been 70 new cases this week, down from 87 last week at the same point. Last week finished with 187 new cases after 228 were reported the previous week, which was one fewer than the 229 from the week of March 28. Before that, the last time the county saw a weekly drop was the week of Feb. 21, the final of seven consecutive weeks of declining numbers following the post-holiday peak.

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Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, reported as an average over the past seven days, dropped to 14.42, the lowest it has been since March 24. The rate dipped as low as 7.46 in early March after peaking at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, dropped slightly to 4.63%, the lowest it has been since March 18.

Around the state

State health officials reported 1,205 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, the first time the state reported more than 1,000 cases in a day since Sunday. However, the increase comes as the state reported 27,300 completed tests in the past 24 hours, only about 1,600 fewer tests than what was reported the past two days combined.

The statewide seven-day average positivity rate is now at 5.28%, a slight decrease of .12 percentage points compared to Tuesday. The state’s average positivity rate has been at 5% or above since March 28. The World Health Organization recommends jurisdictions get under a 5% average positivity rate for at least two weeks before relaxing social distancing and business capacity restrictions.

Vaccine clinics, hospitals, drugstores and other providers reported administering 78,273 total doses of the various coronavirus vaccines. The state has now reported more than 4 million doses of administered vaccines.

Vaccine

The state of Maryland is in Phase 3 of vaccine eligibility, meaning anyone 16 and over can sign up and receive the vaccine. For Carroll County Health Department clinics, all people age 18 and over who live or work in Carroll County are eligible. Registration is available at cchd.maryland.gov.

No appointments are currently available due to a decrease in vaccine allocation and suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administration, but according to the health department website, they hope to share new appointment links on Thursday, April 22 or Thursday, April 29. Those over 65 or in need of assistance to register are asked to call 410-876-4848.

All Marylanders 16 and older can register for an appointment at a mass vaccination site by going to covidvax.maryland.gov or calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829).

Community cases

Carroll has reported 7,598 cases of community members who have tested positive. Age group data:

0-9: 324

10-19: 905

20-29: 1,333

30-39: 1,061

40-49: 1,018

50-59: 1,408

60-69: 914

70-79: 441

80-89: 167

90-99: 27

Total cases

Carroll has reported 8,828 total COVID-19 cases. ZIP code data (those with fewer than seven cases are not listed):

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 2,184

21157 (Westminster): 1,969

21158 (Westminster): 1,090

21771 (Mount Airy): 683

21074 (Hampstead): 636

21102 (Manchester): 559

21787 (Taneytown): 532

21048 (Finksburg): 459

21776 (New Windsor): 242

21797 (Woodbine): 160

21104 (Marriottsville): 130

21791 (Union Bridge): 106

21757 (Keymar): 66

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also reported one new probable case, making a total of 2,990 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

No hospitalizations were reported. As of Sunday, Carroll Hospital was treating 40 patients for COVID-19. Additionally, one other patient was under investigation for the virus, nine critical care unit beds were in use and the hospital had a total patient census of 163 out of an approximate capacity of 170. The 40 coronavirus hospitalizations marked an increase from 36 last week and 33 the week before. There had been 42 patients hospitalized during the peak of the post-holiday surge, but that number steadily decreased until Carroll Hospital had only three COVID-positive patients on March 9.

Baltimore Sun reporter Phil Davis contributed to this article.

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