Maryland counted 414 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the lowest number of new daily cases since July 6. It’s also the fourth straight day the state has reported fewer than 600 new cases, the longest streak since a monthlong stretch from June 14 to July 11.
The state now has confirmed 101,649 infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The two-week average of newly reported cases declined to 659, down 26% since Aug. 3 and the lowest level since July 21.
With 11 more virus-related fatalities reported, the official death toll rose to 3,522 Marylanders. It’s the fifth time since Aug. 2 the state has reported double-digit deaths.
The 3.65% single-day testing positivity rate Maryland reported Wednesday brought the state’s seven-day average rate up marginally to 3.22%. The state’s single-day rate, the percent of each day’s test results that were positive, has been beneath 5% for three weeks. The reported seven-day average testing positivity rate has been below 5% every day since June 26 and beneath 4% for 11 straight days.
The World Health Organization recommends 14 straight days of positivity rates beneath 5% before governments ease virus-related restrictions. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for entering a third reopening phase call for 14 straight days with a positivity rate beneath 10% with a median test result return time of fewer than two days.
The state is not reporting its average test return time and some residents have complained of long delays in getting results.
Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, which calculates positivity rate differently than the state, had Maryland’s seven-day rolling positivity rate as 4.40% through Tuesday’s data, the fifth straight day its figure for the state has been beneath 5%.
[ Why is Maryland’s coronavirus positivity rate always lower than what Johns Hopkins says it is — and does it matter? ]
Hopkins calculates the rates of all states using cases, while Maryland’s approach uses tests, meaning multiple tests results on the same individuals are included as long as the tests were not performed the same day at the same location. With Hopkins’ approach, Maryland had the 15th lowest seven-day positivity rate in the nation entering Wednesday.
Through Tuesday, Maryland ranked 21st in tests per capita, 18th in cases per capita and 12th in deaths per capita among all states, according to Hopkins.
The 13,800 test results Maryland reported Wednesday were its fewest since July 12. In all, the state has reported 1.68 million test results, with nearly 500,000 of those tests being performed on residents who already had been tested at least once. Of the 1.18 million people who have been tested for the virus in Maryland, 8.6% have received at least one positive result.
The state’s seven-day positivity rate for those younger than 35 ticked down to a record-low 3.88%, while the rate for those older than 35 increased slightly to 2.83%. The younger demographic’s rate has been reported to be the higher of the two figures since May 4.
[ Here are the known cases of coronavirus in Maryland [GRAPHICS] ]
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Those in their 20s and 30s accounted for 42% of Wednesday’s new cases. All of the 11 new victims were at least 50 years old, with eight of them at least 70.
Maryland reported 281 new cases in nursing homes and similar long-term facilities over the past week, with 21 new deaths. There have been 16,500 cases total at such facilities, nearly one of every six infections in the state, and more than 2,100 deaths, accounting for almost 60% of the state’s victims.
About 7,000 cases between residents and staff are considered active, meaning they are tied to facilities where there has been at least one new case in the past two weeks.
The state’s hospitals have reported fewer than 150 patients requiring virus-related intensive care every day since July 2, with Wednesday’s 107 ICU cases an increase of five from Tuesday. Maryland has 475 patients currently hospitalized due to the virus, an increase of 22.
Prince George’s County remains the only jurisdiction with a seven-day average positivity rate exceeding 5%, but its 5.12% rate is its seventh record low in the past 13 days. Baltimore’s 3.84% marked its new low point, as well.
Of the 482 cases for which the state reported the infected person’s race for the first time Wednesday, 42% were Black residents, who represent about 31% of Maryland’s overall population, while 38% were white, a ground that accounts for about 59% of the state’s population, according to U.S. census data.
Maryland has not reported race data for 15% of its cases, while 11 victims have yet to be identified by their race.