Maryland officials reported 630 new cases of the coronavirus Thursday, along with six new fatalities associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Meanwhile, the number of infections requiring intensive hospital care dropped for the first time since Sunday.
Thursday’s additions bring the state to 133,548 total confirmed cases and 3,883 deaths since March, when officials first started tracking the spread of the virus in Maryland. Through Wednesday’s numbers, Maryland had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita among states, according to the John Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.
As of Thursday, the state hasn’t reported more than 10 fatalities associated with the virus for more than three weeks. From mid-April to the first few days of June, Maryland was regularly reporting daily death counts above 30. The state’s single-day peak came April 29 at 68 confirmed deaths.
But new cases seem to be growing again. Over the first two weeks of October, Maryland reported an average of almost 100 more new cases per day than it did in the final two weeks of September.
After rising for several days, the number of people hospitalized in the state from the virus’s effects dropped by five to 412 Thursday. The number of COVID-19 patients requiring intensive hospital care also declined by four from Wednesday to 109.
Maryland health officials reported the state’s seven-day positivity rate to be 3.08% Thursday, a slight decrease from Wednesday.
Johns Hopkins, however, calculated Maryland’s seven-day testing positivity rate at 5.54% as of Wednesday, up a tenth of a percentage point and breaking a four-day streak in which the rate it reported for the state declined.
Maryland determines this rate in a different way than Hopkins. While the university uses the percentage of people who test positive for the virus in a weeklong span — meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of results, are only counted once in its measure — the state looks at the percentage of tests conducted that return a positive result.
This difference is important because the World Health Organization recommends that governments wait until they see 14 straight days in which fewer than 5% of “samples” come back positive for the coronavirus before easing virus-related restrictions.
On Thursday, 9,551 Marylanders tested negative for the virus. Maryland is currently reporting a total testing volume of roughly 2.98 million.
Montgomery County, the state’s most populous jurisdiction, has conducted more tests than any other jurisdiction in the state — over 55,000 more than Prince George’s County, the second most populous jurisdiction. As of Thursday, Baltimore City had conducted 217,477 tests.
Of the six individuals whose deaths the state reported Thursday, one was in their 30s, one was in their 60s and four were 80 years of age or older.
Marylanders who are 60 years of age or older continue to be killed by the virus at a disproportionate rate. People in this age group make up about 23% of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but as of Thursday, they comprised roughly 86.6% of those whose deaths the state has recorded from the virus. Age data was not available for two individuals who have died from COVID-19.
The virus also has disproportionately afflicted the state’s Black and Latino populations, compared to the state’s white residents. Of the 113,579 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for which race data is available, 61.8% — or 70,185 cases — were found in Black or Hispanic residents. According to the U.S Census Bureau, these two demographic groups comprise about 41.7% of the state’s population.
For comparison, about 30.5% of cases were found in white Marylanders. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, whites make up about 58.5% of the state’s population.
However, the state continues to report a higher mortality rate for white residents from the virus compared to other demographic groups. As of Thursday, 4.77% of white Marylanders who tested positive for the virus died from it, compared to 3.8% of Black Marylanders and 1.58% of Latino Marylanders.