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Number of COVID-19 cases in Carroll County Public Schools decreases again; overall cases in county down by half from last week

Kelli Eger, the cafeteria manager of Winfield Elementary School, gets her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Piney Ridge Elementary School nurse Tiffany Yetman, right, during a vaccination clinic for CCPS educators and staff at Winters Mill High School on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.
Kelli Eger, the cafeteria manager of Winfield Elementary School, gets her second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Piney Ridge Elementary School nurse Tiffany Yetman, right, during a vaccination clinic for CCPS educators and staff at Winters Mill High School on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

COVID-19 case numbers and the number of people with symptoms at Carroll County Public Schools are trending downward again this week, as are county coronavirus numbers overall.

The total number of those within CCPS with the virus this week as of Wednesday is 61 after 14 employees and 47 students tested positive. Last week, 64 people — 18 staff and 46 students — tested positive for the virus, according to the school system’s data dashboard. The case number has dropped or remained the same five weeks in a row, since 113 cases were announced Jan. 13.

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The number of people in the school system this week with coronavirus-like symptoms on Wednesday was 60. That’s 31 fewer than last week. According to the dashboard, 12 employees and 48 students showed symptoms this week. The same number of employees showed symptoms last week, as did 79 students.

More than 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered to CCPS employees on Wednesday at Winters Mill High School. Many staff members received their second dose.

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New cases in Carroll

The Carroll County Health Department reported 20 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday and also announced that outbreaks at six congregate living facilities have been closed, meaning it has been 14 days since the onset of the most recent case at Springfield Hospital, Longview, Fairhaven, Country Companions, Sun Valley and the Central Maryland Correctional Facility. Six elder care facilities and one correctional facility are listed as active outbreaks on the health department website.

Health department data shows 46 total cases this week, essentially half the 91 cases that had been reported at the same point last week. None of the 46 are from congregate living facilities.

The total for last week was 168 cases, down from 207 the previous week. There were 308 cases the week of Jan. 24, 309 the week of Jan. 17 and 389 the week of Jan. 10, which followed the record-high 518 cases reported the week of Jan. 3. Last week marked the first time since the first week of November that Carroll County reported fewer than 200 cases.

Carroll’s seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that return positive results, remained unchanged at 4.1% a day after hitting its lowest point since Nov. 8.

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The case rate per 100,000 residents in Carroll County, also reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped by more than 2 percentage points to 11.19%. That’s less than one-fourth of the rate (47.58) reported on Jan. 11.

Hospitalizations

The health department reported two new hospitalizations of Carroll countians for COVID-19, bringing to 405 the number of community members who have been hospitalized for the virus.

According to Carroll Hospital, 24 patients are currently hospitalized for COVID-19 and six patients are under investigation for the virus. Additionally, seven critical care unit beds are in use and the total patient census is 143.

Five weeks ago, the hospital had 42 patients who were COVID-19 positive and 18 under investigation. At that point, the hospital was seeing 12-14 critical care unit beds in use each day and as many as 169 total patients, causing health officials to express concern about hospital resources.

Around the state

Maryland health officials reported 759 new cases of the coronavirus Wednesday, along with 19 fatalities. The daily tallies bring the state’s COVID-19 case and casualty counts to 372,980 and 7,449, respectively, from the time health officials began to track the disease’s effects in March.

Maryland’s seven-day testing positivity rate decreased for the eighth day in a row, dropping 0.06 percentage points to 4.17%. That’s less than half the seven day average of 9.47% positivity reported at the beginning of 2021.

Community cases

Carroll has reported 6,052 cases of community members who have tested positive, 3,143 women and 2,909 men. By age range:

0-9: 228

10-19: 694

20-29: 1,067

30-39: 853

40-49: 822

50-59: 1,142

60-69: 729

70-79: 351

80-89: 142

90-99: 24

Total cases

Carroll has reported 7,240 total COVID-19 cases. The numbers by ZIP code:

21784 (Eldersburg/Sykesville): 1,783

21157 (Westminster): 1,634

21158 (Westminster): 886

21771 (Mount Airy): 584

21074 (Hampstead): 522

21102 (Manchester): 464

21784 (Taneytown): 441

21048 (Finksburg): 362

21776 (New Windsor): 186

21797 (Woodbine): 120

21104 (Marriottsville): 99

21791 (Union Bridge): 88

21757 (Keymar): 59

Probable cases

In addition to the confirmed cases, Carroll also had 35 new probable cases, making a total of 2,008 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.

Vaccine distribution

The county health department reports having 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to administer this week. Through last week, the health department had administered 7,647 total first doses, including 1,084 of 1,200 allotted by the state and 1,305 second doses last week alone. Additionally, elder care facility residents are being vaccinated by pharmacies and health care facilities, and many health care workers have been vaccinated at their place of work.

Carroll is 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 by the health department. 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 the state phases can be found at covidlink.maryland.gov/content/vaccine. 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.

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.

Sun reporters Alex Mann and Pamela Wood contributed to this report.

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