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Maryland reports more than 700 new coronavirus cases for the second straight day

Maryland reported 756 new cases of the novel coronavirus Wednesday — continuing a recent uptick in new cases — and announced seven more people have died from COVID-19.

Wednesday’s report shows a continued high infection rate among younger people. Those under the age of 40 represented 53% of Wednesday’s newly announced cases. The highest number of new cases — 193 —came from people between 20 and 29-years-old.

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Gov. Larry Hogan will speak at a press conference Wednesday at 4 p.m., where he may discuss surging cases among young people, plans for the upcoming school year or coronavirus-related restrictions for bars and restaurants.

In a letter to local health officials Tuesday, Hogan criticized establishments that are not following the state’s rules. Restaurants can only operate at 50% capacity indoors, and can only serve seated customers. Customers are not permitted to congregate in bar areas or elsewhere.

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Overall, the new case numbers have ticked upwards of late. Tuesday marked the first time since early June that the state reported more than 700 cases, and on Wednesday it inched even higher. But, all the while, the state has reported fewer than 20 deaths from the virus in each of the past 20 days.

In addition, the state reported that 447 people are hospitalized as a result of the virus, 32 more than Tuesday. It marked the second consecutive day that hospitalization numbers were above 400, after four consecutive days below that benchmark.

The state has now totaled 75,015 cases and 3,209 deaths from COVID-19 to date.

Maryland also reported the highest number of administered COVID-19 tests Wednesday, with more than 21,500. Local health experts say bolstering testing numbers and contact tracing is one way for the state to reduce new cases of the virus.

The state’s reported seven-day average testing positivity rate, 4.49%, was beneath 5% for the 20th straight day. But, Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the rate differently, had it slightly above 5% as of Tuesday. This benchmark is important, since the World Health Organization recommends that governments remain below 5% for 14 days before they begin to reopen businesses and other facilities.

State officials calculate the positivity rate by dividing the number of positive tests by the total testing volume over a seven-day period. Hopkins, on the other hand, uses the number of people tested, the combination of new cases and the number of people who tested negative, accounting for the difference.

The state also reported case numbers from nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other group homes Wednesday. There was an increase in the number of cases reported from facilities with what the state considers “active” outbreaks — facilities that have reported new cases or deaths in the past two weeks. This time last week, there were about 3,400 such cases among residents of the facilities. Wednesday, the state reported more than 3,900.

Over the past week, there were 233 new cases reported from these facilities and 17 new deaths.

This story will be updated.

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