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Nearly three-quarters of educators, almost half of 75-over population in Carroll have been vaccinated for COVID

Nearly three-quarters of educators in Carroll County who want the COVID-19 vaccine have gotten at least one dose, as have about half of all county residents over 75 years old, Health Officer Ed Singer told the Board of Commissioners on Thursday.

Singer said after administering vaccine to 500 Carroll County Public Schools employees on Wednesday, about 4,600 educators in Carroll — including day care providers and private schools — have been vaccinated. He estimated that some 1,700 who would like to be vaccinated remain.

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“Over the next month, hopefully we’ll knock most of that out,” Singer said.

According to county health department data, Carroll has an estimated 11,348 citizens who are over 75 and 5,220 of them have been vaccinated. Singer said a clinic was held at North Carroll Senior Center recently at which 600 doses were administered, many to older people who do not have email addresses or access to the internet.

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Carroll remains in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, which means residents who are at least 75 years old and educators are eligible to be vaccinated at health department clinics. Also part of 1B are those essential for “continuity of government,” and Singer said the county will soon begin vaccinating that group, including mayors and council presidents, as well as those in higher education.

Singer said Phase 1A vaccinations are essentially complete in Carroll and that he hopes to be able to move to Phase 1C, which includes those aged 65-74, in the next few weeks.

So far this week, the health department has administered 1,308 first doses and 736 second (and final) doses, bringing its total to 9,542 first doses and 4,023 second doses. Between those, the ones administered by Carroll Hospital and other health care facilities, and doses administered by CVS and Walgreens pharmacies to long-term care facilities, health department data estimates 23,404 Carroll countians have been vaccinated.

The health department is asking residents who want to receive the vaccine to complete interest forms for their phase of vaccination. These forms can be found online at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms. More information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Carroll County can be found on the health department’s page at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-vaccination.

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Facility outbreaks closed

The health department declared outbreaks at five congregate living facilities closed Thursday, leaving only one elder care facility and one correctional facility with active outbreaks.

The closed outbreaks were at Lorien Mt. Airy, Brightview Westminster Ridge, Carroll Lutheran Village, Westminster Healthcare Center and Copper Ridge. Being closed means that it has been at least 14 days since the onset of symptoms in the last reported case at a site. The only facilities still listed on the health department website as having active outbreaks are Sunrise of Carroll County and the Central Maryland Correctional Facility.

Carroll County actually saw a net decrease of two facilities cases as two Lorien Mt. Airy staff members were relabeled as out-of-county staff.

New cases

The health department reported 25 new community cases on Thursday, bringing the number of total cases for the week to 61. That’s about 50% more than the 40 that had been reported by Thursday afternoon last week, which finished with 102 total cases. That was Carroll’s lowest weekly total since October. Since peaking at more than 500 cases the week of Jan. 3, Carroll has seen declines for six consecutive weeks.

Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, dipped slightly to 8.9. That number peaked at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

Carroll’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, remained essentially unchanged at 2.95%.

Around the state

Maryland health officials reported 976 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday and 16 more deaths caused by the disease.

The seven-day average testing positivity rate, a metric used to help assess infection rates, sat at 3.74% Thursday. The rate has been below 5% for two weeks, a bench mark recommended by the World Health Organization to assess when communities can initiate reopening. The last time that happened was late October through early November. After that, the rate rose until it hit 9.47% on Jan. 3 and didn’t sink back below 5% until Feb. 11.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 6,198 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,202 women and 2,996 men. By age range:

0-9: 235

10-19: 712

20-29: 1,101

30-39: 871

40-49: 837

50-59: 1,170

60-69: 741

70-79: 363

80-89: 144

90-99: 24

Total cases

Carroll has reported 7,397 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,829

21157 (Westminster): 1,657

21158 (Westminster): 906

21771 (Mount Airy): 606

21074 (Hampstead): 528

21102 (Manchester): 479

21787 (Taneytown): 448

21048 (Finksburg): 374

21776 (New Windsor): 187

21797 (Woodbine): 121

21104 (Marriottsville): 100

21791 (Union Bridge): 90

21757 (Keymar): 60

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also had five new probable cases, making a total of 2,104 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

The county health department reported no new hospitalizations of residents for COVID-19. The number of community members who have been hospitalized for the virus remained at 427.

Through Tuesday, according to Carroll Hospital, 15 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 and five patients were under investigation for the virus. Additionally, eight critical care unit beds were in use and the total patient census was 145 (out of an approximate capacity of 170). As a point of comparison, five weeks ago the hospital had 42 patients who were COVID-19 positive and 18 under investigation. At that point, the hospital was seeing 12 to 14 critical care unit beds in use each day and as many as 169 total patients, causing health officials to express concern about hospital resources.

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.

Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.

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