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Maryland reports 482 coronavirus cases, 9 deaths; ICU cases surpass 100 for first time in a month

Maryland officials reported 482 new cases of the coronavirus and nine new related deaths on Tuesday, while the number of hospitalizations requiring intensive care hit triple-digits for the first time in more than a month.

It marks the fifth straight day that Maryland has confirmed fewer new infections than the day prior and the first time in that span that the state has reported fewer than 500 cases. Tuesday’s additions bring the state to 132,343 confirmed infections and 3,868 fatalities during the pandemic’s seven months.

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Through Monday’s data, Maryland has the 28th most cases per capita and 15th most deaths per capita among states, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

The state reported 402 patients currently hospitalized because of the effects of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, the second time in the past week that figure has exceeded 400 after spending all of September below that number. Of those hospitalizations, 102 require intensive care, the first time since Sept. 8 there have been more than 100 ICU cases in the state.

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Through Monday’s data, Johns Hopkins calculated Maryland’s seven-day testing positivity rate at 5.49%, the first time in October it was below 5.5%.

Maryland reported its seven-day rate as 2.87% Tuesday. The state’s figure has been beneath 4% every day since Aug. 8 and under 5% every day since June 26.

While Maryland determines positivity using the percentage of tests conducted that return a positive result, Hopkins uses a different methodology using the percentage of people who test positive for the virus in a weeklong span. It means Hopkins only counts people who receive multiple tests once in its calculation.

The difference in Maryland and Hopkins' rates is significant because of the World Health Organization’s recommendation that governments see 14 straight days in which fewer than 5% of “samples” come back positive for the virus before easing virus-related restrictions.

Nearly 10,000 of the 18,700 test results the state reported Tuesday were repeat tests, according to state data, meaning only 47% of Tuesday’s results will be included in Hopkins' positivity calculations. Of Tuesday’s results, 3.47% were positive for the virus, the state’s highest single-day rate in October.

Maryland has reported almost 3 million test results overall, with more than 40% being repeat tests. Of the 1.75 million Maryland residents who have been tested, 7.6% have received at least one positive result.

Fewer than 3% of those confirmed to have the virus have died, but that figure stands at nearly 8% for those at least 50 years old. All nine of Tuesday’s reported victims were at least 40, and seven were 60 or older. There were only 10 new cases among those who are at least 80, but that age group accounted for three of Tuesday’s deaths.

About one-fifth of Thursday’s new cases are in residents who are in their 20s, an age range representing 13% of Maryland’s overall population, according to U.S. census data. That age range accounts for nearly 19% of Maryland’s total infections, the largest share of any 10-year age group.

The state’s reported seven-day testing positivity rates for residents younger than 35 was at a pandemic-low 3.21% Monday but increased to 3.39% Tuesday. The rate for those older than 35 also increased, from 2.51% to 2.58%.

The state reported the race of 597 infected individuals Tuesday, including 115 cases where the infected person previously hadn’t been identified by race. About 63% of those cases were found in Black, Hispanic or Latino residents, who represent a combined 42% of Maryland’s overall population. Those groups account for 62% of the state’s total caseload, among those whose race is known.

Despite representing nearly double the proportion of the state’s population, white residents —about 59% of the population — account for nearly the same portion for Maryland’s virus-related deaths as Black residents (31%), at 43% and 41%, respectively.

About 15% of those infected in Maryland have not been identified by race, while the races of 11 of the dead are also not known.

All of Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions have a seven-day testing positivity rate below 5%. Prince George’s County, the state’s leader in total cases, had the highest rate at 4.3%. Baltimore’s seven-day rate has climbed five straight days to 2.67%. The city’s rate hasn’t exceeded the state’s overall rate since Aug. 30.

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