Statistically, residents living pretty much anywhere in Maryland had a better chance of receiving COVID-19 vaccine than Carroll countians, through the end of February.
According to Maryland Department of Health figures, Carroll ranked 20th out of the 24 counties (including Baltimore city) per capita in vaccine doses allocated by the state. Through Feb. 28, Carroll had received 16,543 doses, which works out to about 98 doses per 1,000 in population. The state average was 152 doses per 1,000, with Kent County receiving nearly three times as many doses as Carroll per capita. Dorchester, Garrett, Talbot, Worcester and Wicomico counties, as well as Baltimore City, all received at least twice as many per capita as Carroll.
“It’s been very frustrating for us,” Ed Singer, the county’s health officer, said. “I’ve complained loudly about it. ... The state really needs to be more transparent with what their plan is. It’d be nice if the local health departments were involved in the process.”
Rothstein was planning to be armed with new information at that online session. He told the Times that he and several members of the state legislature representing Carroll planned to speak with Dennis Schrader, the acting secretary of the Maryland Department of Health, Monday night.
“I requested this call with the secretary to better understand the allocation and distribution of vaccine across Maryland and specifically into Carroll County,” Rothstein, the president of the Board of Commissioners, said via email. “Bottom line in my view — it is not about comparing allocation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction; it is about how best to serve Carroll countians. And no one knows that best than those in Carroll County.”
That was Singer’s point as well, noting that the response to any type of emergency is focused at the local level. He and Rothstein both noted that Carroll is continuing to try to vaccinate those aged 75 and older.
“This is to vaccinate those most vulnerable and educators identified in Phase 1B and finish Phase 1A. The state may have moved on to vaccinating those in Phase 1C, however, [we] are just not there yet,” Rothstein said. “Also, our underserved are those who are not able to get to vaccination sites, or those without internet and minimal communications, or those who are less tech savvy, or our homeless and challenged communities, etc. All those and others all deserve to be vaccinated.”
Singer said he believes some 3,500 Carroll countians who are over 75 have yet to be vaccinated, though he conceded some of them do not want to be vaccinated. He said the health department will continue holding clinics for those in Phase 1B, but as those clinics stop filling up, he will open up slots for those in 1C.
“Nothing is going to sit in our refrigerator,” Singer said. “If they give it to me, we’ll get it out.”
The health department has been receiving roughly 1,000 doses of vaccine per week over the past two months. Singer said they could quickly ramp up and administer 10,000 shots in a week or more. He said many volunteers are available to assist in the effort, wanting to help get past this crisis.
The county saw a slight uptick in cases last week, based on Carroll County Health Department data.
The health department reported 70 new cases on Monday afternoon for the 72-hour period since Friday. Twenty-six are cases reported this week, but the majority were from last week.
Carroll is preliminarily reporting 116 total new cases for last week after reporting 103 the previous week and 106 the week of Feb. 14. This is the first weekly increase in cases since the week of Jan. 3, when more than 500 cases were reported, the most from any point in the pandemic. Carroll had seen declines in seven consecutive weekly reports.
Among the 70 cases were three from congregate living facilities: a staff member at Lorien Mount Airy, a staff member at Pleasant View Nursing Home and a staff member at Sunrise of Carroll County.
Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 people per day, which is reported as an average over the past seven days, jumped by more than three cases to 10.69, still well off the case rate peak of 47.58 on Jan. 11.
Carroll’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, rose by nearly 1 percentage point to 3.3%. It has been below 5% since Feb. 14, having reached 8.34% on Jan. 8.
The health department announced that an over-65 community member died of COVID-19 on March 5.
Based on health department data, that is the only fatality attributed to COVID-19 from last week, marking the fewest since early November. There had been three deaths attributed to COVID-19 in each of the previous two weeks after four the week of Feb. 7, five the week of Jan. 31 and six the two weeks before that.
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 with 201 having been at least 65 years old.
Around the state
Maryland health officials reported 716 new cases of the coronavirus Monday. The state hasn’t reported more than 1,000 new cases in a day since Feb. 19. The state also announced Monday that eight more people have died due to complications from the virus, bringing Maryland’s total to 7,781 deaths.
Health officials said Monday 792 people were in Maryland hospitals with COVID-19. It’s the first time since Nov. 10 that hospitalizations have fallen below 800 people. The state positivity rate remained unchanged at 3.36%.
Carroll has reported 6,390 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,290 women and 3,100 men. By age range:
Carroll has reported 7,597 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:
21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,880
21157 (Westminster): 1,711
21158 (Westminster): 924
21771 (Mount Airy): 629
21074 (Hampstead): 536
21102 (Manchester): 486
21787 (Taneytown): 451
21048 (Finksburg): 393
21776 (New Windsor): 191
21797 (Woodbine): 123
21104 (Marriottsville): 107
Carroll County Breaking News
21791 (Union Bridge): 92
21757 (Keymar): 62
In addition to the confirmed cases Thursday, Carroll also had 29 new probable cases, making a total of 2,254 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.
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 reporters Alex Mann and Christine Condon contributed to this article.