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Maryland’s streak of declining coronavirus hospitalizations comes to end

Maryland’s lengthy streak of declining coronavirus hospitalizations came to an end Tuesday, though overall virus-related hospitalizations have fallen generally during the past 20 days, according to the latest figures released by the state Department of Health.

Current hospitalizations from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, are watched closely by Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration at it determines the next steps to reopen Maryland.

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After declining Monday to 1,279 hospitalizations, the state’s fewest since April 17, the reported count climbed to 1,315 Tuesday, the first time in 10 days the number did not shrink. However, the state’s count of current patients has declined in 17 of the past 20 days — down from 1,707 patients May 6.

The number of cases requiring intensive care, which has been between 500 and 600 since April 20, increased slightly, from 517 to 520. Five recoveries were reported, with the number of infected people who were released from isolation growing to 3,334.

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The state reported 535 new cases of the virus, the smallest one-day increase since April 21, to bring Maryland’s total tally of confirmed infections to 47,687.

A day after the state reported 9,215 test results — the most during the virus’ run — Maryland reported 4,910 results Tuesday.

Only 11% of the test results reported Tuesday were positive. Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Friday that Baltimore and the D.C. region have the highest positive test rates in the country.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University researchers, Maryland slipped to fourth nationwide with an overall positive test rate of nearly 15.4%, behind Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and Missouri. Late last week, Maryland was second only to Puerto Rico with a positive test rate of just under 19%.

An additional 30 fatalities were confirmed Tuesday, though deaths aren’t always reported on the day they happened. In all, the virus has killed 2,217 Marylanders, not including 116 deaths attributed to COVID-19 but not confirmed by a laboratory test.

More than 1,000 of those victims were at least 80 years old, by far the plurality among age groups. Among those killed by the virus whose age was known, about 88% were at least 60 years old.

Maryland’s African-American and Latino populations have been disproportionately affected by the virus, according to available data on the race of those infected. Those who are black, 30% of the state’s overall population, represent 37% of the infections and 43% of the deaths. More than 30% of the state’s cases are in its Latino populations, a group that accounts for only 10% of Maryland’s residents.

Baltimore City is on the verge of 5,000 cases and ranks fourth among the state’s jurisdictions in confirmed infections behind Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

The 21224 ZIP code that includes Baltimore’s Canton and Highlandtown neighborhoods ranks fifth in the state in total infections, while the other nine ZIP codes in the top 10 are in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

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