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Carroll County Health Department implementing shorter quarantine timeline based on CDC guidance

Carroll countians exposed to COVID-19 but not showing symptoms will be able to get back to work and other activities more quickly after the Carroll County Health Department opted to implement new quarantine guidelines.

The shorter quarantine timeline available for people without symptoms was announced in a Thursday health department news release. The decision was based on revised guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health, according to the release. Local public health officials remain the authority on how long quarantines should last in the communities they serve.

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A 14-day quarantine is recommended because it can take up to two weeks for a person who is exposed to COVID-19 to show symptoms, or build up enough of the virus to test positive according to the release. Some people, however, develop symptoms within five days of exposure.

The new CDC guidance offers the following options for when quarantine can end for people without symptoms ― on Day 7 after receiving a negative test result (PCR test only) on Day 5 or later, or on Day 10 without any testing.

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The days of quarantine are determined by the health department’s contact tracing team, according to the news release.

“The new guidance balances the need to reduce spread with the need for people to work and participate in other activities,” Ed Singer, the county’s top health official, said in the release. “While a 14-day quarantine is still the safest option, the health department’s contact tracing team can now approve shorter quarantines for people without symptoms who meet the criteria.”

The health department’s Thursday coronavirus data showed 41 new COVID-19 cases — 35 among community members and six among those in congregate living facility cases — but no new deaths.

The county has seen 166 total new cases this week. Last week’s total has been amended to 270 cases which followed the record 323 cases for the week of Nov. 15. Carroll’s case rate per 100,000 residents is 23.8.

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Four Carroll Lutheran Village residents, one Springfield Hospital Center resident, and another from an undetermined site were added as facility cases. Carroll congregate living facilities have now seen 769 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Eight facilities have active outbreaks.

Carroll’s positivity rate, reported as a seven-day rolling average stayed steady at 5.5% through Wednesday, the most recent data available. It reached a recent peak of 6.88% on Nov. 22. The statewide rate rose to 7.68% with the new data.

Twelve new probable cases were reported, increasing the total to 347 probables since the beginning of the pandemic. 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 health department doesn’t consider these results to be confirmed cases.

Carroll saw 40 new community members released from isolation, meaning at least 24 hours have passed since recovery (defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms) and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. To date, 2,422 have been declared cured.

There were no new hospitalizations, so 150 community members have been hospitalized in total.

Of the 2,685 community members who have tested positive in Carroll, 82 are younger than 10 years old; 312 are in the 10-19 range; 533 are 20-29 years old; 352 are 30-39; 381 are 40-49; 516 are 50-59; 306 are 60-69; 133 are 70-79; 62 are 80-89; and eight are in their 90s. Women have accounted for 1,393 of the positive tests, men for 1,292.

According to health department data, Carroll has confirmed 3,454 total cases. Westminster has seen the most with 1,206 across two ZIP codes, followed by Sykesville/Eldersburg with 854, Mount Airy with 356, Manchester with 226, Hampstead with 194, Taneytown with 181, Finksburg with 176, New Windsor with 79, Marriottsville with 56, Woodbine with 50, Keymar with 35, and Union Bridge with 31. Data is not released in ZIP codes with seven cases or fewer.

NOTE: For more information on isolation, quarantine, and contact tracing in Carroll County, visit the Health Department’s contact tracing page at cchd.maryland.gov/covid-19-contact-tracing.

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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