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‘Do what’s right’: Carroll County officials urge common courtesy as COVID cases continue rise

The county commissioners took note of rising COVID-19 numbers Thursday during the weekly Board of Commissioners meeting and urged Carroll residents to continue to do their part to get the trends going back in the right direction.

“Hang in there with us,” said Commissioner Richard Weaver, R-District 2.

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Commissioner President Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, urged people to understand what is happening and to use common courtesy.

“The numbers are rising … in the schools and across the county,” he said. “Wearing masks are not a scam. Social distancing and washing hands is not a scam. There is absolute science behind how to protect ourselves and others.

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“These are not just opinions. This is the facts. … Wear the masks. Social distance, wash your hands. Do what’s right.”

New cases

The Carroll County Health Department reported 37 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday afternoon, all among community members. There have been 180 cases so far this week after 205 were reported last week. That was up from 153 the previous week and nearly double the 104 reported the week of Feb. 21, which was the last of seven consecutive weeks of declining totals.

Carroll’s testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that returned positive results over the past seven days, dropped a bit to 5.6%. 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, dipped to 20.61. The rate had been as low as 7.46 in early March after having peaked at 47.58 on Jan. 11.

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The health department reported one death, an over-65 resident at Golden Crest Assisted Living in Westminster. There have been 229 total COVID-19 fatalities among Carroll countians, 58 members of the community and 171 residents of congregate living facilities.

Around the state

Maryland added 1,457 infections of the disease to its COVID-19 case count, which climbed to 414,385, according to the health department. The state has now averaged more than 1,100 new cases daily over the last two weeks.

Continuing its upward trend, the state’s coronavirus testing positivity rate increased by 0.09 percentage points, reaching 5.6%. The percentage has increased for seven days straight and is more than two percentage points higher than its 2021 low on March 3.

Health officials reported a record 76,590 new COVID-19 vaccinations, eclipsing 2.8 million vaccine doses administered statewide since Dec. 14.

Vaccine

According to the Carroll County Health Department, more than 50,000 county residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine and nearly 30,000 are fully vaccinated. The health department will now be sharing links online when there are spaces to fill in upcoming clinics that are less than a week away. These clinics are still only open to eligible individuals — people who live or work in Carroll County who are in eligible phases of Maryland’s vaccination plan (All of Phase 1 and Phases 2A and 2B). People who are not eligible to be vaccinated will have their appointments canceled.

The Carroll County Health Department is scheduling appointment-only vaccination clinics for people in all phases through 2B, including essential workers in 1C who live or work in Carroll, and residents age 60-64 (2A) and residents 16-60 with underlying health conditions.

Eligible county residents who have not yet completed the health department’s interest form should do so at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-interest-forms or call 410-876-4848 for assistance.

The state of Maryland is open to people in phases 1A, 1B, 1C, 2A, and 2B. Go to coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine#locator or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX for information on vaccination options at pharmacies, larger clinics and mass vaccination sites. Several pharmacies in Carroll County are now offering vaccines.

State health officials reported a record 76,590 new COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday morning, eclipsing 2.8 million vaccine doses administered statewide since Dec. 14. More than 1.04 million people have been fully vaccinated in Maryland, while about 1.8 million have received at least one dose.

The state has averaged 59,115 immunizations administered daily over the last seven days, according to the state health department.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 7,072 cases of community members who have tested positive. Age group data through Thursday:

0-9: 275

10-19: 842

20-29: 1,265

30-39: 992

40-49: 951

50-59: 1,320

60-69: 841

70-79: 404

80-89: 157

90-99: 25

Total cases

Carroll has reported 8,289 total COVID-19 cases. ZIP code data is through Friday (those with fewer than seven cases are not listed):

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 2,063

21157 (Westminster): 1,845

21158 (Westminster): 1,006

21771 (Mount Airy): 663

21074 (Hampstead): 596

21102 (Manchester): 524

21787 (Taneytown): 488

21048 (Finksburg): 434

21776 (New Windsor): 226

21797 (Woodbine): 144

21104 (Marriottsville): 124

21791 (Union Bridge): 99

21757 (Keymar): 65

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also reported 20 new probable cases, making a total of 2,711 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

Carroll Hospital had 19 patients positive for COVID-19 through Wednesday, eight fewer than had been reported March 27, according to the Carroll County Health Department. The COVID-positive patients had gone from three on March 9 to 11 on March 15 to 22 on March 22 to 27 on March 27. Through Wednesday, two patients were under investigation for COVID-19, seven critical care unit beds were in use, and the total patient census was 165 out of an approximate capacity of 170.

Baltimore Sun reporter Alex Mann contributed to this article.

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