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Maryland reports lowest single-day positivity rate, 380 new coronavirus cases on Fourth of July

On a day when the potential for gatherings celebrating the Fourth of July has prompted concern among officials about the further spread of the coronavirus, Maryland reported 380 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and its lowest single-day positivity rate during the pandemic.

The state will celebrate Independence Day on the cusp of 70,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with Saturday’s additions bringing Maryland to 69,341 infections since the pandemic began in March.

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Of those cases, 3,111 have resulted in death, including 12 new fatalities reported Saturday. Although deaths are not always reported the day they occur, Saturday marked the ninth straight day the state reported fewer than 20 coronavirus-related deaths. Maryland had no such days from April 10 to June 6.

There are 410 patients currently hospitalized in Maryland because of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — the third straight day that number has declined — while the state has surpassed 11,000 total hospitalizations because of the virus. Cases currently requiring intensive care remained at 143.

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The number of test results reported the past three days all rank among the state’s seven highest counts during the pandemic. Of the nearly 13,000 test results reported Saturday, 3.92% were positive, Maryland’s lowest single-day testing positivity rate during the pandemic.

The state’s seven-day average positivity rate dipped to 4.87%, staying beneath 5% for a ninth straight day; the World Health Organization recommends a rate of 5% or lower for 14 straight days before governments begin easing virus-related restrictions. Through Saturday’s data, Maryland’s positivity rate was the 22nd-lowest among states, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

The positivity-rate figure Hopkins includes in its daily reports is consistently higher than that of the state. The difference comes from the data used in the calculations. Maryland officials calculate the positivity rate as the number of positive tests divided by total testing volume over a seven-day period. Rather than the total testing volume, Hopkins uses the number of people tested, or the combination of new cases and people who tested negative.

Saturday’s results pushed the state beyond 700,000 completed tests, with more than 573,000 people tested. Of those tested, 12.1% have gotten a positive result at least once. More than 5,000 people have been released from isolation after being confirmed to have COVID-19.

Each of the state’s top four jurisdictions by cases — Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Baltimore County and Baltimore, in order — have seven-day average positivity rates higher than 5%, with Prince George’s County’s 7.43% rate nearly 2% higher than that of any other county. Charles County is the only Maryland jurisdiction with fewer than 3,000 total cases and an average rate above 5%.

About 31% of those at least 80 years old with confirmed infections have died. More than two of every three cases in Maryland have been in someone at least 20 years old but younger than 60, but the death rate in that group is less than 1%.

Maryland does not have race data available for more than 18% of confirmed infections. Among those whose race is known, almost one in three are Hispanic, a group that is one-tenth of the state’s overall population.

About 41% of those who the virus has killed in Maryland were Black, compared to 43% of the victims being white, even though the proportion of Marylanders who are white is about double the proportion of Black Marylanders.

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