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Maryland’s coronavirus tallies grow by 631 cases, 5 deaths; state surpasses 15,000 hospitalizations since start of pandemic

Maryland officials reported 631 new cases of coronavirus Thursday and five new deaths associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Those additions bring the state to 118,519 confirmed infections and 3,717 fatalities during the pandemic’s six months. Through Tuesday’s data, Maryland has the 12th-most deaths per capita among states, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

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The total number of Marylanders hospitalized since the pandemic began in March surpassed 15,000 for the first time. The state reported 353 current hospitalizations Thursday, six more than Wednesday’s 347. Of those hospitalizations, 83 require intensive care, the fewest since there were 72 ICU cases on March 29.

Maryland reported a seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of virus tests during a weeklong period that return positive results, of 3.33%, whereas Wednesday’s figure was 3.44%. The state has reported a rate beneath 4% every day since Aug. 8 and under 5% every day since June 26.

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Of the more than 27,000 test results the state reported Thursday, 2.91% returned a positive result.

The World Health Organization recommends governments see 14 straight days of positivity rates beneath 5% before easing virus-related restrictions. Although Maryland has spent nearly three months under that threshold, it first began its reopening processes before hitting that benchmark.

Hopkins, which calculates positivity differently than the state, has Maryland’s seven-data positivity rate through Wednesday’s data as 6.4%, the 10th straight day that mark has exceeded 6% and the 22nd-highest among all states. While Maryland determines positivity using tests conducted, Hopkins measures based on people tested, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of their result, are counted only once in the university’s calculation.

About 57% of Tuesday’s new cases are in residents who are older than 10 but younger than 40, an age range representing 40% of Maryland’s overall population, according to U.S. Census data. The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate in residents under 35 years old of 4.75% was below 5% for a second straight day and has declined for four consecutive days. The rate in residents older than 35 of 2.53% has not been lower during the course of the pandemic.

All five victims reported Thursday were at least 50 years old.

Of the 541 confirmed cases for which the state reported the infected person’s race Tuesday, 53% were in residents who are Black or Hispanic, groups representing a combined 42% of Maryland’s overall population. White residents, 58% of the state’s population, were 40% of the new infections and account for 29% of the overall caseload for which race is known.

Despite representing nearly double 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 nine of the dead are not known.

Three of the state’s 24 jurisdictions have seven-day positivity rates exceeding 5%: Caroline, Cecil and Prince George’s counties. Charles and Worcester counties are the only other jurisdictions with rates above 4%.

Baltimore, which reported a seven-day rate of 3.21% 10 days ago, is now one of two jurisdictions in the state with positivity of less than 2%.

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