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A COVID-19 death and 65 new cases reported in Carroll County; hospital ready for new restrictions

The health department announced the coronavirus-related death of another Carroll countian and 65 new positive tests Tuesday afternoon, shortly after Gov. Larry Hogan outlined new statewide restrictions designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including some that will affect Carroll Hospital.

A woman from the community, described as being over 65, has died, according to the Carroll County Health Department. There have now been 154 Carroll County fatalities attributed to the novel coronavirus, 23 community members and 131 residents of congregate living facilities.

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Of the 65 new cases, one is a staff member at Longview Nursing Home in Manchester and one is a staff member at a facility with small enough numbers that the health department declines to name it for privacy reasons. There have been 721 COVID-19 cases at congregate living facilities. Not included in those totals are three new out-of-county residents who are staff members at Longview and one out-of-county staff member at Springfield Hospital, both announced Tuesday.

The other 63 new cases were among community members, one being confirmation of a previously “probable” case. Through three days this week, there have been 109 community cases in Carroll, on pace for an even higher number than last week’s record total. Carroll saw 214 cases last week, that number being reduced by one Tuesday when a case previously attributed to last week was moved to this week after data reconciliation.

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Hogan outlined several new restrictions Tuesday that will take effect at 5 p.m. Friday. Those include hospital visits being suspended (with exceptions for patients who are dying, giving birth, are minors, or have disabilities) and that hospitals are being urged to avoid admitting patients for elective procedures.

Garrett Hoover, president and chief operating officer of Carroll Hospital, released a statement saying that his organization will be ready to implement any needed changes.

“With the surge in COVID cases across our region, Carroll Hospital and our other LifeBridge Health facilities had already been preparing to update our visitor policies, and we support the governor’s decision to limit hospital visitation, as we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Hoover said in the statement. “We have criteria in place to evaluate each elective procedure and we will continue to assess our COVID-19 preparedness protocols and make recommended changes as needed.”

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average, rose half-a-point to 5.49% through Monday, the latest available data. That’s the highest it has been since June 5, when far less testing was being done. The statewide rate is 6.85%.

Carroll is averaging more than 20 total cases per day per 100,000 in population over the past week. According to the Maryland State Department of Education, when counties are averaging more than 15 cases per 100,000 with a positive rate of greater than 5%, MSDE guidelines call for “limited or no in-person programs” for schools.

The Carroll County Board of Education meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the continuation of hybrid learning.

To date, 1,859 community members have been released from isolation, with 26 more declared cured on Tuesday. 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 16, Carroll has had 211 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.

McDaniel College announced one new positive test and has seen 23 members of its campus community test positive for COVID-19 out of a total of 2,897 tests conducted since Aug. 14.

Of the 2,081 community members to test positive in Carroll, 56 are younger than 10 years old; 253 are in the 10-19 range; 418 are 20-29 years old; 262 are 30-39; 291 are 40-49; 403 are 50-59; 246 are 60-69; 102 are 70-79; 46 are 80-89; and four are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 1,077 of the positive tests, men for 1,003 and data was unavailable for one case.

According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 2,802 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 974 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 694, Mount Airy with 312, Manchester with 186 Hampstead with 144, Finksburg with 141, Taneytown with 124, New Windsor with 72, Marriottsville with 46, Woodbine with 40, Keymar with 30 and Union Bridge with 26. 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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