High Transmission and Hospitalizations Have Carroll Hospital, Health Department, and County Urging Residents to Enjoy Holidays Safely

Information from a Carroll County Government Press Release:

Due to high COVID-19 transmission and increasing hospitalizations, Carroll Hospital, the Carroll County Health Department, and the Carroll County Board of Commissioners are working together to encourage county residents to take steps to enjoy the holidays safely.

“We have the tools we need to reduce local transmission of COVID-19 — vaccines, testing, contact tracing, masking, avoiding crowds, and making smart choices about what activities to participate in based on your risk,” said Sue Doyle, Acting Health Officer at the Health Department.

Carroll County is currently in high COVID-19 transmission, according to CDC guidelines, so it is recommended to wear masks indoors in public. “Cases have been rising since mid-October and we expect them to remain high for some time due to holiday gatherings, cooler weather bringing people indoors, and reduced use of masks,” said Doyle.

Hospitalizations are also very high locally, straining resources and staff. At Carroll Hospital, President Garrett Hoover said the number of COVID patients continues to rise at an alarming rate.

As of December 14, the hospital had a total of 194 patients, with the emergency department seeing an average of 125 patients per day and the critical care unit continuing to run at full capacity since early fall.

Hoover said, “There are 41 patients in the hospital’s emergency department waiting for a hospital bed today. This is a daily challenge.”

“Carroll Hospital has witnessed a 100% increase in COVID inpatients in the last ten days.  As of December 14, we had 47 COVID cases – forty of these patients were unvaccinated (87%) with an average age of 55 years old. Seven were vaccinated with an average age of 75 years old, and none of these patients had received a booster vaccine,” Hoover said.

Hoover added that 98% of the patients in the critical care and intermediate care units are unvaccinated. While no patients have been identified as having the newest COVID variant, Omicron, he said the number of COVID positive patients will likely continue to rise unless residents heed the advice of state and county health officials to stop the virus from spreading.

“We must get ahead of this virus and not become complacent. I strongly encourage everyone in the community to please get vaccinated, get your booster, continue to wear masks indoors and exercise good judgment during this holiday season,” said Hoover.

“The increase in Carroll County cases is worrisome and every person needs to do their part to protect themselves, their loved ones and the community,” said Ed Rothstein, President of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners. “We are all tired of COVID, but we are also tired of the ongoing sickness, hospitalizations, and death of family and friends, so please continue to persevere and put safety first by practicing healthy habits. Testing, vaccinations and taking preventative actions are the best gifts you can give this holiday. Especially if you are traveling or gathering, do all you can to protect your friends, family, loved ones and the most vulnerable members of our community.”

Multiple community partners are providing opportunities for residents to get vaccinated and tested.

Vaccinations:

  • McDaniel College vaccination clinic for 12+ today, December 14th, 2-6 pm, in Gill Center, all vaccines available; walk-ins are welcome.
  • Two Pfizer clinics for 5-11 year olds on the 15th at Manchester Volunteer Fire Department and the 16th at Winfield Volunteer Fire Department, both from 3:30 – 7:30 pm.
  • Health Department vaccination clinics on Tuesdays 10 am -12 pm and Fridays 1-3 pm; all vaccines, 1st, 2nd, and boosters.
  • Reindollar Carriage House clinic on Saturday, December 18, from 8 am -1 pm, with Pfizer for 5+ and Johnson and Johnson for 18+, 1st and 2nd vaccines and boosters.

Testing:

  • The Health Department offers testing for people who are exposed or symptomatic on Tuesdays and Fridays 9 am – 3 pm, and Wednesdays 12:30 – 4:30 pm. If you are having trouble getting tested through other sites, call 410-876-4848 to see if you meet the criteria. Testing is not available for travel or work.
  • To search for additional testing sites, visit Symptoms Testing | Coronavirus – Maryland Department of Health.
  • At-home testing is another option for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19, who are having symptoms, or who want to test before visiting family and friends. Home test kits can be found in many pharmacies. Limited quantities of free test kits will be distributed through the Health Department and at Carroll County Public Library branches when available; visit cchd.maryland.gov/at-home-test-kits/ for updates and information on how to register.

Carroll Hospital will work to share local hospitalization data with the Health Department, so the public can track trends. Visit cchd.maryland.gov/carroll-county-md-cases/ for updates. Please note, currently the Health Department is unable to update case data due to statewide network issues.

For more information and resources, visit cchd.maryland.gov/healthy-holiday-tips/.

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Scott E

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