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Maryland positivity rate drops again as state adds 344 cases, 9 deaths to coronavirus totals

Maryland officials reported 344 new cases of coronavirus Tuesday and nine new deaths associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The additions bring the state to 120,912 confirmed infections and 3,748 fatalities during the pandemic’s six months.

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The state reported 309 patients currently hospitalized because of the virus' effects, 19 more than Monday’s 290. Of those hospitalizations, 77 require intensive care, a one-day increase of six.

Maryland’s reported seven-day testing positivity rate, which measures the percentage of virus tests during a weeklong period that return positive results, was 2.65%, the fourth straight day the state’s figure reached its lowest point during the pandemic. 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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It has now been under 3% for three straight days. The rate has declined from 3.62% to 2.65% over the past week.

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 began its reopening process in June before hitting that benchmark.

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 5.39%, the 18th straight day that mark has exceeded 5% and the 25th lowest among all states. While Maryland determines positivity using tests conducted, Hopkins uses the people tested, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of their result, are counted only once in the university’s calculation.

Of the 17,349 test results the state reported Tuesday, 2.85% returned a positive result. Each day of the past week has featured a single-day positivity rate beneath 3%.

Maryland has reported 2.4 million test results, with 1.5 million residents undergoing at least one test. Among those tested, 7.8% have received a positive result at least once. About 3% of those confirmed to have the virus have died.

About 43% of Tuesday’s new cases were in residents in their 20s or 30s, an age range representing 27% of Maryland’s overall population, according to U.S. census data.

The state’s reported seven-day positivity rate in residents older than 35 years old, 2.16%, is at its lowest point during the pandemic. The rate for those under 35 is 3.76%; a week ago, the under-35 rate was 5.05%.

Eight of Thursday’s reported victims were at least 60 years old, while one resident was in his or her 40s. About 5% of Maryland’s virus-related deaths have been in residents younger than 50, with those in their 40s accounting for nearly two-thirds of those fatalities.

Of the 316 confirmed cases for which the state reported the infected person’s race Tuesday, almost 60% 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 34% 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 42% and 41%, respectively.

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

Worcester County is the only of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions with a seven-day positivity rate exceeding 5%, while six others are above 4%.

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Baltimore, which reported a seven-day rate of 3.21% on Sept. 7, has been beneath 3% every day since and has spent five straight days with a rate under 2%.

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