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Maryland reports 356 new coronavirus cases as Hopkins positivity rate continues to climb

The percentage of newly tested Maryland residents who are positive for the coronavirus is at its highest level since late July, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

Through Monday’s data, Hopkins calculated Maryland’s seven-day rolling positivity rate as 6.23%, the highest since July 29. It’s the fourth straight day Hopkins, which examines data from all 50 states, has placed Maryland’s rate above 5%, the World Health Organization-recommended benchmark for governments to ease virus-related restrictions.

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The trend follows three straight weeks when Maryland met the WHO benchmark using Hopkins’ calculation, which differs from the state’s. While Hopkins focuses on new cases among new people tested over a weeklong period, Maryland determines its rate by the average percentage of tests that return a positive result during the previous seven days.

The difference means Maryland’s formula includes multiple tests performed on the same individuals — as long as they weren’t performed the same day at the same location — while Hopkins’ method does not include those repeat tests.

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Maryland reported its seven-day positivity rate Tuesday of 3.68%, down from Monday’s 3.84%. That had been the state’s highest reported rate since Aug. 8, when it last reported a rate above 4%.

The change in positivity rate comes on a day Maryland confirmed 356 new cases of COVID-19 — the state’s fewest for a single day since July 6 — bringing the state to 113,239 confirmed infections. Of those, 3,663 have resulted in death, with three new fatalities reported Tuesday.

Maryland reported fewer than 13,000 test results Tuesday, with 3.54% of those returning a positive result. The state has performed more than 2.1 million tests on 1.4 million people, with 8% of them receiving at least one positive result.

Maryland has the 23rd lowest positivity rates among all states, according to Hopkins.

Maryland’s hospitals have 365 patients currently due to the virus’ effects, with 102 of those requiring intensive care, seven fewer than Monday.

About 45% of Tuesday’s new cases were in residents under 30 years old. The statewide positivity rate in residents under 35 was above 5% for the second straight day after nearly a month below that mark.

All three of the victims whose deaths were reported Tuesday were at least 60 years old. Although nearly 80% of the confirmed infections have been in Marylanders under 60, 87% of the victims have been at least that age.

Almost 49% of the 305 infections for which the state reported race for the first time were found in Black and Hispanic residents, groups representing about 42% of the state’s overall population. White residents, 59% of Maryland’s population, accounted for 47% of the new cases for which race is known.

The state does not have race data available for 15% of its cases, while 10 victims have yet to be identified by race.

Caroline, Wicomico and Worcester counties, all in the Eastern Shore, are the only three of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions with seven-day positivity rates above 5%. Both Caroline and Worcester counties exceed 7%.

Baltimore’s positivity rate has been below the state’s rate for nine straight days, falling back beneath 3% Tuesday to 2.93%.

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