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Maryland’s coronavirus positivity rate declines for first time in 11 days as state adds 413 cases, 6 deaths

Maryland officials reported 413 new cases of the coronavirus Tuesday and six new deaths associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, while the state’s reported seven-day positivity rate declined for the first time in 11 days.

Tuesday’s additions bring the state to 128,204 confirmed infections and 3,823 fatalities during the nearly seven months of the pandemic. The 413 new cases represent the state’s lowest daily increase since Sept. 23.

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The state reported 360 patients currently hospitalized because of the virus' effects, 22 more than Monday, and the most since Sept. 15. Of those hospitalizations, 88 require intensive care, a one-day increase of three.

Maryland’s reported seven-day rolling testing positivity rate, measuring the percentage of tests returning positive results during a weeklong period, was 2.95%, ending a 10-day streak of small increases. After two consecutive weeks of reporting a rate beneath 3%, the state surpassed that mark Sunday and Monday, though the figure has under 4% every day since Aug. 8 and 5% every day since June 26.

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The World Health Organization recommends governments see 14 straight days where fewer than 5% of “samples” come back positive for the virus before easing virus-related restrictions.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, which calculates positivity differently than the state, has Maryland’s seven-data positivity rate through Monday’s data as 6.00%. It’s the first time since Sept. 18 the university’s figure has reached that point, though it has been at least 5% all but four days since Sept. 4 and never lower than 4.88%.

While Maryland determines positivity using tests conducted, Hopkins uses the people tested, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of their results, are counted only once in the university’s calculation.

More than 10,800 of the 17,750 or so test results the state reported Tuesday were repeat tests, according to state data, meaning fewer than 40% of Tuesday’s results will be included in Hopkins' positivity calculations. The state’s single-day positivity rate — the percentage of test results from a given day that come back positive — stood at 2.7% Tuesday and has been below 3% four of the past five days.

Maryland has reported more than 2.7 million test results overall, with at least 1 million of those being repeat tests. Of the almost 1.7 million Maryland residents who have been tested, 7.7% have received at least one positive result.

Fewer than 3% of those confirmed to have the virus have died. For those under the age of 50, less than a quarter of a percent of confirmed cases have resulted in death.

One of Tuesday’s six new victims was in his or her 20s, while the other five were at least 60, with three 80 or older.

Almost 37% of Tuesday’s new cases are in residents who are at least 20 years old but younger than 40, an age range representing 27% of Maryland’s overall population, according to U.S. census data.

Of the 345 confirmed cases for which the state reported the infected person’s race Tuesday, 42% were white, a race representing about 58% of Maryland’s overall population. Of the total caseload, white residents account for less than 30% of confirmed infections among those whose race is known, while those who are Black, Hispanic or Latino, groups representing a combined 42% of the state’s population, are 62% of the caseload.

Despite representing nearly twice the proportion of the state’s population, white residents account for nearly the same portion for Maryland’s virus-related deaths as Black residents, at 43% and 41%, respectively.

About 15% of those infected in Maryland have not been identified by race, while the races of 10 of the dead are also not known.

For the third straight day, Somerset County was the only one of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions reporting a seven-day positivity rate above 5%. Caroline, Prince George’s and Worcester counties are the only other jurisdictions with rates exceeding 4%.

After a two-week streak with a rate beneath 2%, Baltimore’s rate has been above that benchmark for six straight days, falling to 2.59% on Tuesday. The city’s rate has been below Maryland’s overall rate since the end of August.

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