Around a dozen COVID-19 related deaths will be added to local pandemic data as the state recently found an issue dealing with how coronavirus deaths have been reported.
“We’re going to see a number of deaths in Carroll County,” Ed Singer, county health officer, told the Board of County Commissioners during a COVID-19 update at Thursday’s meeting. “It’s not deaths that happened recently but [the state] … went back and looked at some of the death records and the circumstances.”
He said between 10 and 12 deaths locally are being reclassified as related to COVID-19. Current data shows 249 Carroll County fatalities.
Maryland officials on Thursday revised 517 deaths over the last year as coronavirus fatalities, increasing the virus’ death toll to more than 9,300 in the state.
Medical certifiers improperly classified deaths that had been caused by COVID-19, the state’s Department of Health said in a news release. The health department’s Vital Statistics Administration caught the error during an “information reconciliation process utilizing other sources of data.”
The state health department also believes there are 21 more fatalities likely attributable to COVID-19, bringing the total of suspected virus deaths to 213, according to the news release and department data.
In a statement, Jinlene Chan, deputy health secretary for public health, said health department epidemiologists make adjustments to data when necessary.
“It is important for medical certifiers to closely follow CDC guidance when reporting COVID-19 deaths,” Chan said. “This data is critical for the public and the public health community, and our systems and processes are designed to ensure accuracy and transparency in our reporting to the public.”
Local cases below 100
At the commissioner meeting, Singer noted to commissioners that weekly cases of COVID-19 in Carroll are coming in at less than 100 for the first time since the week of Oct. 11. He mentioned hospitalizations are continuing to go down and in the past seven days, he hasn’t seen any local coronavirus-related deaths.
Health department data shows that 53.2% of the overall county population has been vaccinated, receiving at least one dose, with 45.2% being completely vaccinated, having received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. He said an individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final shot.
“Hopefully we’ll continue to get people [vaccinated] as they understand more and more about the vaccine and how it’s a benefit to all of us and how it’s helping us get back to normal,” the health officer said.
Carroll County Breaking News
While the health department is just starting to vaccinate those between the ages of 12 and 15, he said under 33% in that age group have received their first dose of Pfizer.
Singer said he anticipates “that number will continue to grow as they are the population getting vaccinated at the highest rate at this point.” He added citizens between the ages of 20 and 40 “seem to be lagging the most.”
The health department hosted their second vaccine clinic for adolescents on Wednesday, where they were able to vaccinate 750 kids between the ages of 12 and 17. At their first clinic last week they vaccinated over 1,000.
With overall attendance to the department’s clinics dwindling, Singer said he is looking at doing “mobile vaccinations,” where they would attend events” that have a lot of foot traffic, allowing people to get walk-up vaccinations at their convenience.
“The more people we get vaccinated the quicker we get through this and get back to normal,” he said.
While Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the mask mandate for all Marylanders earlier this month, Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, said commissioners “need to echo the fact we need to respect those who still want to wear a mask.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this report.