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Coronavirus hospitalizations jump as Maryland hits pandemic record seventh straight day with 1,000+ new cases

Maryland’s coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations continued to rise Tuesday, as the state reported 1,338 new cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Tuesday was the seventh straight day the state recorded 1,000 or more new virus cases, extending a pandemic record.

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The state’s two-week average of new daily cases also reached new heights Tuesday for the second straight day, climbing to 1,069 from the 600s a little over two weeks ago. Before Monday, which set a new pandemic high of 1,038, the pandemic record for that two-week new daily case average was 1,031, set in May, when the virus was peaking.

The state also reported 12 new deaths Tuesday tied to COVID-19.

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Maryland reported 761 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Tuesday, up 54 from Monday, and hitting the highest level since June. Hospitalizations have soared since late September, when they were as low as 281 as of Sept. 20.

Hospitalizations and deaths are figures that can lag behind increasing caseloads, as it can take weeks for patients’ symptoms to worsen and for some of them to die.

Among those hospitalized, 176 needed intensive care, eight more than Monday. ICU hospitalizations have more than doubled since Sept. 20, when 68 people needed ICU care.

The new cases reported Tuesday brought the state to a total of 156,709 confirmed cases and 4,084 deaths, since officials began tracking the virus in March.

Forty-five states, including Maryland, have seen cases increase in the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. No states have seen cases decrease and just five have seen cases stay level.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate was 5.24% Tuesday, up from 5.05% Monday. Monday was the first time the state’s positivity rate surpassed 5% since June, according to The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus data. The 5% figure is significant because the World Health Organization has recommended governments see positivity rates at or below 5% for 14 days before easing virus-related restrictions.

Younger Marylanders continued to drive a significant chunk of new cases Tuesday, with residents in their 20s and 30s making up about 37% of new cases. Residents in their 40s and 50s also made up about 30% of new cases Tuesday. Those 60 or older made up just 17% of new cases.

One person in their 40s and one in their 50s were reported to have died from the virus Tuesday, and 10 people who were reported to have died were 60 or older.

As some Maryland schools have begun rolling back their in-person learning plans amid rising cases, the state also reported 208 cases among people between the ages of zero and 19.

Allegany County, which has been a virus hotspot in the state in recent weeks, reported another 37 cases Tuesday. The Western Maryland county has seen by far the most cases per 1,000 residents in the past 14 days at 7.04, more than double the next-closest jurisdiction, Somerset County, at 3.4. Two of the deaths reported Tuesday came from Allegany.

Baltimore City, which has reported the third-most cases in the state per 1,000 residents in the past 14 days at 3.32, reported 191 more virus cases Tuesday. The city’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 residents, which has surged in recent weeks, rose again to 27.61 as of Monday, behind just Allegany County statewide. Allegany’s case rate per 100,000 residents was 66.54 as of Monday, more than triple the statewide average.

Baltimore City is tightening restrictions on restaurants, bars and other facilities Thursday amid rising cases.

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The virus has disproportionately hit Black and Latino Marylanders, as the two groups represent less than half of the state’s population but have thus far made up 60% of cases in which race is known.

The Maryland Department of Health announced that its MD COVID Alert system, a mobile phone app that will alert users of potential COVID-19 exposures with the aim of reducing infections, is launching Tuesday.

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