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COVID-19 deaths, facility cases trending down in Carroll County

While there’s been a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases the past two weeks in Carroll County, the number of fatalities and the number of cases reported in congregate living facilities show far more positive trends.

The Carroll County Health Department hasn’t announced a death resulting from COVID-19 since March 5, the only fatality so far this month. Assuming a thus far unreported case does not come to light, last week would be the first without a death attributed to the virus in Carroll since the week of Nov. 1. There have been 72 COVID-19 deaths reported since Nov. 8, with a high of 10 the week of Dec. 20 and three subsequent weeks that included six deaths each as cases surged following the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

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To date, 226 Carroll countians have died of COVID-19. Of those, 170 have been residents of congregate living facilities and 56 have been members of the wider community. And 201 have been at least 65 years old. Given that such a high percentage of fatalities have been among residents of congregate living facilities, the decline in deaths may be partly attributable to fewer cases in such facilities.

According to health department data, there have been no facility cases this week after just two were reported last week. Since Feb. 14, there have been 13 facilities cases. By contrast, there had been 88 facility cases the previous four weeks. In all, 1,208 cases have been reported in congregate living facilities and there are active outbreaks in five elder care facilities and the Central Maryland correctional facility, according to the health department. That’s less than a third the number of outbreaks during some points in January.

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New cases

The health department reported 16 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday afternoon, bringing the number reported this week in Carroll to 42. That’s on a pace to be lower than the 150 cases reported last week, which surpassed the 121 from the previous week. Carroll had 104 cases the week of Feb. 21, the lowest total since mid-November.

Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, decreased to 12.98 after having climbed over 14 for the first time since Feb. 14. This rate peaked at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

Carroll’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, dropped slightly to 4.75%. The rate has remained below 5% since Feb. 13.

Vaccines

The Carroll County Health Department is finishing vaccinating those in Phase 1B, made up largely of people over 75 years old, and is beginning to vaccinate those in Phase 1C, which includes those aged 65-74. The health department continues to ask any Carroll countians over age 75 interested in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to call 410-876-4848. Residents who want to receive the vaccine should complete interest forms that can be found at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms.

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The health department receives about 1,000 doses of vaccine each week, far lower than demand. The health department recommends Carroll countians consider the following options:

  • Sign up through LifeBridge, www.lifebridgehealth.org/Main/Home.aspx.
  • Talk to your health care provider, particularly if you have chronic health conditions.
  • Contact your local pharmacy. Giant, Walgreens, and CVS in Carroll County have started to offer the vaccine at some of their locations.
  • Look for larger clinics and mass vaccination clinics across the state. The state has a vaccine locator that lists clinics at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine.
  • Call the new COVID-19 Vaccination Support Center at 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829) seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Around the state

Maryland added 658 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, bringing the state’s case count to 394,716 since health officials began tracking the virus’ effects last March. Tuesday marks the third consecutive day that the number of daily infections remained below 1,000, a mark eclipsed Saturday for the first time in about a month. Maryland has averaged 864 new cases daily over the past week.

State health officials reported that COVID-19 caused 23 more deaths, bringing the death toll due to the disease to 7,896 people in Maryland. The state has averaged 12 fatalities per day over the last 14 days, the lowest rate since mid-November.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 6,581 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,386 women and 3,195 men. By age range:

0-9: 248

10-19: 772

20-29: 1,186

30-39: 916

40-49: 887

50-59: 1,238

60-69: 781

70-79: 380

80-89: 149

90-99: 24

Total cases

Carroll has reported 7,789 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,939

21157 (Westminster): 1,747

21158 (Westminster): 945

21771 (Mount Airy): 636

21074 (Hampstead): 557

21102 (Manchester): 495

21787 (Taneytown): 458

21048 (Finksburg): 407

21776 (New Windsor): 196

21797 (Woodbine): 130

21104 (Marriottsville): 111

21791 (Union Bridge): 94

21757 (Keymar): 62

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases Monday, Carroll also had 28 new probable cases, making a total of 2,379 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 one new hospitalization for COVID-19, making the number of community members who have been hospitalized for the virus since to 439.

On Tuesday, according to Carroll Hospital, 11 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 — as recently as March 8 that number had been just three — and five patients were under investigation for the virus. Additionally, nine critical care unit beds were in use and the total patient census was at 162 out of an approximate capacity of 170.

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 Alex Mann contributed to this article.

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