As the Carroll County Health Department adopted state eligibility protocols allowing everyone 16 or older to register for and receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the county also reported that last week’s new case total dropped from the previous week. But that could change.
The county reported 68 new COVID-19 cases Monday for the previous 72-hour period, including 29 cases that count toward this week’s totals. After Monday’s announcement, the county put last week’s total at 226 cases — slightly lower that the previous week’s total of 229 cases, which rose by four over the course of last week as data was adjusted.
The number of cases reported by the health department at the end of a given week often grows as more data becomes available or cases are reclassified from one week to another. If last week’s total does remain lower, however, it would be the first time since February that Carroll has seen a weekly decline.
Prior to last week, Carroll had seen five weeks in a row of flat or increasing totals. The last time the county saw a weekly drop was the week of Feb. 21, the last of seven consecutive weeks of declining numbers following the post-holiday peak.
Two of the 68 new cases reported were from congregate living facilities, one a staff member at Copper Ridge and the other a case at a facility so small the health department does not identify it out of privacy concerns.
No COVID-19 fatalities were reported Monday. Through last Friday, the health department had announced seven deaths in eight days. Overall, 235 county residents have died of COVID-19 — 63 community members and 172 congregate living facility residents.
Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, dropped by nearly three-quarters of a percentage point to 5.85%. 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, dropped slightly to 19.51. The rate had been as low as 7.46 in early March after peaking at 47.58 on Jan. 11.
As of Monday, the Carroll County Health Department is aligned with the state of Maryland’s vaccine distribution plan. Carroll is now in Phase 3, which means all Marylanders 16 and older are eligible to get the vaccine. However, Carroll is only able to vaccinate people 18+ at this time. Only Pfizer is approved for people 16 and 17 and Carroll mostly gets the Moderna vaccine.
According to the health department website, they will continue to prioritize people 65+ and people who are not able to register online without assistance. They are scheduling 1-3 first dose clinics each week, some of which may be for targeted groups. The health department will share clinic links online about a week before the scheduled date to allow Carroll County residents or people who work in Carroll County to register.
For those who would like to preregister for vaccination through the Carroll County Health Department, complete the appropriate form online at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms or call 410-876-4848. All Marylanders ages 16 and older can now preregister for an appointment at a mass vaccination site by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829). During preregistration, Marylanders can choose their top two preferred sites.
Around the state
Maryland health officials reported 985 new cases of the coronavirus Monday. But over the past few weeks, the state is averaging about 1,300 new cases a day — up from 1,100 at the beginning of the month. That average has climbed steadily since early March, when it hovered below 800.
Monday, 15 more people were reported dead from the coronavirus. Since the pandemic hit Maryland, 8,284 people have died in the state. Meanwhile, 1,233 people are hospitalized in Maryland with COVID-19, seven fewer than the figure reported Sunday. The state has reported more than 1,000 Marylanders hospitalized due to the disease every day since March 29.
Maryland’s seven-day average testing positivity rate is 5.6% as of Monday, up from 5.41% reported on Sunday. The positivity rate has declined slightly since it climbed close to 6% early this month, but it’s been above 5% since March 29.
Carroll has reported 7,368 cases of community members who have tested positive — 3,770 women and 3,598 men. Age group data:
Carroll has reported 8,595 total COVID-19 cases. ZIP code data (those with fewer than seven cases are not listed):
21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 2,141
21157 (Westminster): 1,923
21158 (Westminster): 1,050
21771 (Mount Airy): 673
21074 (Hampstead): 619
21102 (Manchester): 538
21787 (Taneytown): 511
21048 (Finksburg): 448
21776 (New Windsor): 235
21797 (Woodbine): 152
21104 (Marriottsville): 125
Carroll County Breaking News
21791 (Union Bridge): 103
21757 (Keymar): 65
In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also reported 76 new probable cases, making a total of 2,892 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.
Seven more community members from Carroll were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Monday, bringing that number to 498 since the start of the pandemic.
The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 at Carroll Hospital dropped to 25 Monday from 33 last week. The metric had been down to three on March 9. A week later it was 11, and then the number doubled to 22 by the last full week in March.
Additionally, two patients were under investigation for COVID-19 on Friday, 12 critical care unit beds were in use and the total patient census was 150 out of an approximate capacity of 170.
Baltimore Sun reporter Christine Condon contributed to this article.