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With cases rising nationwide, Maryland reports 497 new coronavirus cases, four deaths

With coronavirus cases increasing in about two-thirds of states, Maryland reported 497 new virus cases and four deaths Monday tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes.

The new batch of data moves Maryland to a total of 136,154 confirmed virus cases and 3,895 deaths since the pandemic took hold in Maryland in March.

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With cooler fall temperatures, which researchers suggest may increase the virus’ spread, weekly case numbers are rising in 33 of 50 states, including Maryland, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. Only six states and Washington, D.C., are currently seeing decreases, while 11 are level, according to the university’s data.

Maryland has the 15th-most deaths per capita and the 28th-most confirmed cases of the virus among states as of Sunday, according to Hopkins' data.

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The state reported 434 hospitalizations, one more than Sunday. The state has seen an uptick in hospitalizations since Oct. 4, when 320 people were hospitalized. On Sept. 20, the state had 281 people who were hospitalized.

Among those hospitalized, Maryland reported 116 needed intensive care, up one from Sunday. The state has recorded seven straight days with triple-digit ICU hospitalizations after going most of September and the start of October in double-digits.

The total hospitalized remains well below a late April peak of just over 1,700 people hospitalized. with close to 600 in intensive care.

The state’s reported seven-day testing positivity rate — which measures the percentage of positive tests coming back over a weeklong period — was 3.14%, the same as Sunday.

The positivity rate calculated by Johns Hopkins was 2.3% as of Sunday. The university’s data provider changed how it calculated the seven-day average rate Friday, significantly lowering its the rate for Maryland.

The center previously used the number of people tested as opposed to the number of overall tests, which is how the state calculates its positivity rate. Now, Hopkins uses all viral tests performed to calculate its positivity rate. With the new calculation, Maryland has the eighth-lowest positivity rate among states and Washington, D.C.

The World Health Organization recommends governments see 14 consecutive days testing positivity rates of 5% or lower before beginning reopening measures.

Among the deaths reported Monday, three people were 60 or older, while one victim was in his or her 30s, just the 50th Maryland resident in that age group confirmed to die from the virus.

The virus has killed older Marylanders disproportionately, with about 86% of deaths coming from those 60 or older. But Monday’s death of a person in their 30s and newly confirmed cases underscore that the virus still affects younger people.

Out of Monday’s new cases, 178 — nearly 36% — were among those in their 20s and 30s. With some schools opening and Baltimore City announcing Wednesday it would bring some students back to in-person class this fall, the state confirmed 75 new cases among people between the ages of zero and 19. Ninety-seven of the new cases were among those 60 or older.

Baltimore County had 81 newly confirmed cases, the highest count in the state, just over 16% of Monday’s new cases, followed by Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties with 71 each. Baltimore City had 64 new cases

Prince George’s County accounted for 55 of Monday’s new cases. As of Sunday, it had seen the most cases per-capita during the pandemic, with 34.49 cases per 1,000 residents, according to The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus data. Prince George’s has seen a spike in its seven-day positivity rate, going from 3.81% Oct. 11 to 5.29% Sunday, well above the state’s average of 3.14%.

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The pandemic continues to disproportionately hit Maryland’s Black and Latino communities. Despite the two groups representing less than half of the state’s population, they combined for more than 61% of the state’s confirmed virus cases in which race was known.

Race data was not available for three of the four deaths reported Monday, while the fourth person reported to die was white.

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