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PUBLIC HEALTH

65 students in quarantine, positivity rate nears 19 percent

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At least 25 more confirmed coronavirus cases have been reported for Carroll County since Friday, and the county's test positivity rate continues to climb and is at 18.8 percent.

The total number of cases for the county is now 377, according to state data. At least 197 of those infected people have recovered, and two have died.

Carroll cases have surged in the past two weeks, and local schools began classes this past week. A Carroll High School student tested positive for the new coronavirus after attending, which forced an unspecified number of students to quarantine who were in close contact at the school.

As of Friday afternoon, 65 Carroll Community students were quarantining at home. That forced the freshman football team to cancel its Friday game, and school district officials further restricted attendance of that night's varsity game by distributing tickets only to players, coaches, band members and cheerleaders.

There were five students of the public school district who have an active infection as of Friday, but only one of them had attended classes this week. One staff member has an active infection and nine others are in quarantine.

Carroll County's test positivity rate — which is a calculation that compares the number of positive tests to the overall number of tests — is approaching the 20 percent threshold at which the district could seek permission from the state to temporarily switch to online learning. Such a move would also suspend fall sports.

At rates between 15 and 20 percent, school districts can request to go online if the number of students absent is at least 10 percent of the total student body, but "we were not close to a 10 percent absentee rate," Superintendent Casey Berlau said Friday.

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