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Maryland officials report 642 new coronavirus cases and 9 more deaths

Maryland health officials reported on Sunday 642 new COVID-19 cases and nine deaths related to the virus.

Sunday’s increase in cases brings the state total to 73,109 people infected by COVID-19. Officials say 3,188 people have died as a result of illness from the virus.

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Maryland’s positivity rate remained below 5% for the 17th straight day as the state reported 4.45%, a slight drop from Saturday. The World Health Organization recommends that governments have a seven-day average rate below 5% for 14 days before they begin reopening measures.

As of Sunday, 392 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus: 278 in acute care and 114 requiring intensive care. Since officials began tracking the virus in March, 11,420 people have been hospitalized.

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in a statement issued Sunday said the state has conducted more than 800,000 COVID-19 tests, including a record 21,140 tests over the last 24 hours. State officials continue to monitor spikes and outbreaks in neighboring states, although the Hogan administration suggests Maryland’s figures are headed in the right direction.

On the national effort to curb the virus, Hogan told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday, “I think they have made some progress in a number of areas with respect to now getting [personal protective equipment] out to some of the states and working together for us but there is no question that mistakes were made.”

Hogan, who chairs the National Governors Associations, continues to tout Maryland’s numbers, which have largely flatlined in recent weeks, while other states have seen record-breaking surges.

Florida shattered the national record Sunday for the largest single-day increase in positive coronavirus cases in any state since the beginning of the pandemic, adding more than 15,000 cases as its daily average death toll continued to also rise.

According to the state’s Department of Health statistics, 15,299 people tested positive, for a total of 269,811 cases and 45 deaths.

“We should have had a national testing strategy that we should have been on top of this, that we should have had a much more clear national strategy and been communicating much earlier on in the process and I think governors had to step up and be on the frontlines but we had 50 different states with 50 different strategies and some did better than others,” Hogan continued on Meet The Press.

California had the previous record of daily positive cases — 11,694, set on Wednesday. New York had 11,571 on April 15.

The numbers come at the end of a grim, record-breaking week as Florida reported 514 fatalities — an average of 73 per day. Three weeks ago, the state was averaging 30 deaths per day. Since the pandemic began in March, 4,346 people have died in Florida of COVID-19, the state says.

“There is no question that things could have been done better from the beginning of this crisis and look, right now it does not do any good,” Hogan said on the Sunday morning news program. “We have got to deal with the situation at hand we also have to do the best job we can because this thing is out of control it is by no means behind us and we are all in it together and we have got to work together at the federal state and local level.”

In Maryland, 15 of the state’s 24 jurisdictions have now met Hogan’s goal for testing 10% of their population. Howard, Caroline and Worcester counties joined that last Sunday, according to a news release.

“The positivity rate is below 7% in every jurisdiction, with the exception of Queen Anne’s County, which has experienced a 259% increase in its positivity rate since June 30 and has the state’s highest positivity rate at 8.49%,” according to the release.

The recent uptick in testing has also showed Marylanders under 35 have a positivity rate 83.5% higher than Marylander’s older than 35.

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Prince George’s County remains the county with the highest total of cases, 19,713, while Montgomery County reports the highest amount of COVID-19 related deaths, 721, according to state numbers released on Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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