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Maryland reports 305 new cases of coronavirus as infections swell elsewhere

Maryland officials reported 305 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday to continue the state’s run of moderate increases in infections as caseloads surge in other states, though a slight uptick in current hospitalizations represented the largest increase in more than a month.

Tuesday’s additional cases of COVID-19 brought Maryland to 67,559 total infections as it approaches the fifth month of the pandemic. Of those confirmed infections, 3,062 have led to death, about 4.5% of the confirmed caseload. With 14 new fatalities reported Tuesday, Maryland has reported fewer than 20 virus-related deaths for five straight days.

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The state also reported fewer than 500 current hospitalizations for a fifth straight day. In two months, Maryland’s count of patients has dropped from a peak of 1,711 on April 30 to 452 on Tuesday, an increase of five from Monday. That daily increase in hospitalizations is Maryland’s largest in more than a month, though the addition of 23 from May 26 to May 27 directly preceded a 32-day streak of declines in current patients. During that monthlong period, hospitalizations dropped from 1,338 to 446.

Cases requiring intensive care dropped to 152, the fewest in Maryland since April 1.

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Among the top 10 states in positivity rate as recently as two weeks ago, Maryland now ranks in the lower half of states in that metric, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. The state reported a seven-day rolling positivity rate below 5% for the fifth straight day Tuesday, with the 4.81% mark being Maryland’s lowest during the pandemic.

As of Tuesday morning, Hopkins has Maryland with the 25th lowest positivity rate among states, with 22 states above the 5% benchmark that the World Health Organization recommends before easing virus-related restrictions. There are 36 states with cases trending upwards, with Maryland not among them, according to Hopkins.

The positivity-rate figure Hopkins includes in its daily reports is consistently higher than that of the state. The difference comes from the data used in the calculations. Maryland officials calculate the positivity rate as the number of positive tests divided by total testing volume over a seven-day period. Rather than the total testing volume, Hopkins uses the number of people tested, or the combination of new cases and people who tested negative, and arrives at its figure by dividing the number of new cases by the number of people tested.

The state has performed about 644,000 tests on nearly 536,000 people. Of those tested during the pandemic, 12.6% have tested positive. Maryland reported a single-day positivity rate below 5% for six of the past eight days.

Nearly 80% of Maryland’s confirmed infections come from the five jurisdictions with the highest caseloads: Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County, Baltimore and Anne Arundel County, respectively. With the exception of Anne Arundel, each of those jurisdictions has a seven-day rolling positivity rate over 5% with Caroline and Charles counties also above that threshold. Maryland has tested 8.9% of its population, per a tweet from Gov. Larry Hogan.

Almost one in three of every confirmed case in someone at least 80 years old has resulted in death, with those 70 and older representing more than 70% of Maryland’s victims. More than two-thirds of those with a confirmed infection are at least 20 but younger than 60.

Maryland does not have race data for almost 18% of its confirmed cases. Among those it does, over two-thirds of the infected are Black or Hispanic, with those two groups combining for about 40% of the state’s overall population.

Those who are Black are 41% of the virus’ victims in the state. Comparatively, those who are white represent twice the proportion of Maryland’s overall population, 60% to 30%, but account for only slightly more fatalities at 43%, among those whose race was known.

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