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Maryland begins September with 614 new coronavirus cases, 5 new virus-related deaths

Maryland health officials reported reported 614 new coronavirus infections and five new related fatalities Tuesday, the first day of the pandemic’s seventh calendar month in the state.

The additions bring Maryland to 108,863 confirmed cases of the virus, with 3,617 resulting in death.

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Through August, Maryland had the 21st most confirmed cases per capita among all states and the 12th most virus-related deaths per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

Despite reporting fewer than 600 new cases on seven of the final nine days of the month, Maryland reported more than 19,900 new cases in August. That’s about 800 fewer than it reported in July and less than 200 fewer than it reported in April, the first full month of the pandemic.

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But Maryland also reported nearly 723,000 test results in August, more than in April and July combined.

The state’s increased testing has coincided with a downward trend in the state’s seven-day average positivity rate, which calculates the percentage of tests in a weeklong period that return a positive result. Tuesday’s rate of 3.39% is more than a full percentage point beneath the 4.47% figure Maryland reported Aug. 1.

Since June 26, Maryland has reported a seven-day rate beneath 5%, the World Health Organization’s recommended benchmark for governments to ease virus-related restrictions. The state’s rate has been beneath 4% since Aug. 8.

For only the second time since Aug. 14, the state reported a single-day positivity rate above 4%, with 4.67% of the more than 13,600 test results reported Tuesday being positive. That rate was Maryland’s highest for a single day since Aug. 4.

In all, Maryland has reported more than 1.95 million test results from 1.34 million individuals. Of those tested, 8.1% have received a positive result at least once.

Hopkins, which calculates positivity rate differently than the state, has Maryland’s seven-day rolling rate for the final week of August as the 19th lowest among the 50 states. Hopkins uses the rate of new cases among people tested, meaning each individual tested is included only once in the calculation, even if he or she is tested multiple times. The state’s formula includes those repeat tests.

Using Hopkins’ methodology, Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate was 4.30% through Monday’s data, the 18th straight day below 5%.

Maryland reported that 385 patients are hospitalized currently because of COVID-19, the disease brought on by the virus, with 112 of those cases requiring intensive care, the most since Aug. 16.

About 57% of Tuesday’s new cases were in residents at least 10 years old but younger than 40, an age range that represents about 40% of the state’s overall population. It marked the first time since Aug. 14 that at least 100 cases were confirmed in those at least 10 years old but younger than 20.

The seven-day average positivity rate for residents under 35 years old rose to 4.11% on Tuesday, its first time above 4% since Aug. 17. The rate in those older than 35 is 2.91%.

Baltimore County’s seven-day positivity rate jumped seven tenths of a percentage point from Monday to 4.56%, the second highest among the state’s jurisdictions with at least 1,000 total cases. A week ago, Baltimore County’s reported rate was 3.49%. Of the 614 cases reported Tuesday, 114 were in Baltimore County.

Baltimore’s seven-day rate also increased from Monday’s record low of 3.09% to 3.22%. There were half as many new cases in the city Tuesday as there were in Baltimore County.

There appeared to be a discrepancy in the racial data Tuesday, with the state reporting 1,000 fewer total cases among Hispanic residents Tuesday than they did Monday morning, while the number of cases in other races had a combined increase of nearly 1,500. A representative for the Maryland Department of Health did not offer an explanation for the changes but said the discrepancy was being looked into.

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