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Carroll County tops 200 community COVID-19 cases in a week, highest total yet

Carroll County is now seeing more than 30 cases of COVID-19 per day, numbers that represented a week’s worth of cases as recently as the summer.

According to Carroll County Health Department data released Monday afternoon, Carroll saw 215 community cases of COVID-19 last week, by far the highest weekly total in the eight months of the pandemic. The previous high had been 143, set the week of Nov. 1. With 358 community cases (and 385 total cases) through 14 days, November is already Carroll County’s worst month, statistically.

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Amid the spike, the Carroll County Board of Education opted last week to continue hybrid learning — which gives students the option to attend classes in person twice per week — for elementary and middle schools, and to start it for high schools. The board is scheduled to meet again Wednesday to consider the updated COVID-19 numbers and decide whether to suspend hybrid learning until the metrics improve.

According to the health department, Carroll is averaging 19.7 total cases per day per 100,000 in population, roughly three times what the number was when hybrid learning began Oct. 19. According to Maryland State Department of Education guidelines, counties are expected to “reassess” if they see an increase of two cases per 100,000 in a two-week span.

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The health department announced 90 new cases from Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon. Seven of the new cases occurred in congregate living facilities, such as nursing homes, which haven’t seen nearly the spike the wider community has seen in November but have nevertheless seen an uptick.

The new facility cases were: two staff members at Lorien Taneytown, two staff members at Springfield Hospital Center, one staff member at Carroll Lutheran Village, one staff member at Lorien Mount Airy and one resident at Carroll Lutheran Village. Carroll has now seen 719 congregate living facilities cases.

The 31 facility cases this month are more than Carroll had in October, September and August combined.

The other 83 new cases were among members of the wider community with 45 reported Sunday or Monday and counting toward this week. The most cases were among people in their 20s (17), followed by those in their 50s (15) and 60s (14). There were six cases among those under 10 and seven in the 10-19 age group.

The average of 31 community cases per day last week eclipsed the average of 27 per week Carroll County saw in the seven weeks from May 31 through July 18. Carroll was still seeing fewer than 40 cases per week as recently as late August. Carroll had only eclipsed 100 community cases in a week once before the week of Oct. 25 saw 101 cases, leading into 143 and 215 the first two weeks of November.

A bit of good news: 112 people were released from isolation, meaning 1,833 community members have been declared cured of the virus. Additionally, there have been no new hospitalizations for COVID-19 reported by the health department since Nov. 10, with 135 people hospitalized since the beginning of the pandemic.

With a net increase of 15, Carroll has had 195 probable cases. The probable cases stem from Carroll countians who tested positive using a rapid antigen test, rather than a molecular test like those offered at state-run testing sites. The department doesn’t consider these results to be confirmed cases.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, dropped slightly to 4.98% through Sunday after hitting 5.09% on Nov. 13, more than doubling since it was 2.4% on Oct. 28. The statewide rate is 6.45%.

McDaniel College announced one new positive test and has seen 22 members of its campus community test positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 2,814 tests conducted since Aug. 14.

Of the 2,018 community members to test positive in Carroll, 54 are younger than 10 years old; 250 are in the 10-19 range; 405 are 20-29 years old; 251 are 30-39; 282 are 40-49; 395 are 50-59; 233 are 60-69; 98 are 70-79; 45 are 80-89; and four are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 1,049 of the positive tests, men for 977 and data was unavailable for one case.

According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 2,737 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 943 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 690, Mount Airy with 308, Manchester with 181 Hampstead with 139, Finksburg with 136, Taneytown with 118, New Windsor with 69, Marriottsville with 45, Woodbine with 40, Keymar with 30 and Union Bridge with 25. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

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.

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