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Hundreds seeking COVID tests from Carroll County Health Department as library’s supply of free kits does not arrive

The Carroll County Health Department fielded hundreds of calls on Monday and Tuesday seeking COVID-19 tests and also saw an uptick in people looking for vaccines, according to acting Carroll health officer Sue Doyle.

As a result, the department is working to increase clinic times to accommodate the demand, Doyle said.

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Community transmission of COVID-19 remains “high,” in Carroll County this week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The positivity rate of 15.16% was almost 2% higher this week when compared to last, and testing in the county also increased by 7% as of Tuesday.

The Carroll health department regularly offers COVID-19 testing for people who are exposed or symptomatic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Tuesdays and Fridays. No clinics will be held this Friday due to the observance of New Year’s Eve.

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The supply of free COVID testing kits normally distributed weekly by the Carroll County Public Library system did not arrive as expected on Tuesday.

Lisa Picker, director of communications for the library system, said it was unknown why test kits had not yet arrived from the state. Last week all free kits distributed at library branches in the county were claimed within minutes. CCPL’s website briefly crashed on Dec. 21 when registration opened.

“This is the first time we have not received the tests … we are not sure why the supply has not been received by the health department,” Picker said.

Library customers may register weekly, starting at 9 a.m. each Tuesday at https://library.carr.org/testkit to pick up one kit per person. COVID testing is also available at some urgent care centers and pharmacies in the county, but supply is not consistent with demand.

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“We’ve been in touch with the Carroll County health department and we expect to be able to supply them for next week’s distribution,” Picker said.

The county health department is still unable to provide updated local COVID-19 case data due to a state-level network security incident. Carroll County health officials have not specified when access to local COVID data may be fully restored, following an apparent cyberattack on Dec. 4 that prompted the Maryland Department of Health to take some of its servers offline.

Last week, on Christmas Eve, Maryland set a record for coronavirus cases reported in a day, with 9,859 positives recorded from a record number of tests conducted Dec. 23. It shattered the previous record — 6,869 cases — set just one day earlier.

As of Tuesday, the percentage of the county population older than 5 that is vaccinated stands at 73.9%, according to the CDC.

Pfizer vaccination clinics for 5- to 11-year-olds will be held on Jan. 5 at Manchester Volunteer Fire Department and Jan. 6 at Winfield Volunteer Fire Department, both from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m., according to the health department’s website.

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