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Maryland adds 781 coronavirus cases, four deaths Friday

Maryland officials reported 781 new coronavirus cases Friday and four new deaths associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

With Friday’s additions, Maryland has confirmed 134,329 cases and 3,887 deaths since state officials began tracking the spread of the virus in March. Through Thursday’s data, Maryland had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

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Maryland officials reported a cumulative testing volume of just over 3 million Friday, up by more than 27,000 from Thursday. Officials also reported that nearly 11,000 additional people tested negative for the virus Friday.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate increased slightly from the previous day to 3.09% heading into the weekend.

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Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, reported the state’s seven-day positivity rate to be 5.53%. Rather than determining positivity by using tests conducted — as state officials do — the university looks at the people tested, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of their results, are counted only once in its data.

This difference is significant because the World Health Organization says governments should wait until their positivity rates are below 5% for 14 straight days before beginning to ease back virus-related restrictions.

According to state officials, Maryland has been under this threshold since July, but Johns Hopkins hasn’t reported a rate lower than that benchmark for weeks.

Meanwhile, two Maryland counties, Prince George’s and Somerset, have been reporting positivity rates higher than 5% since Wednesday. As of Friday, Prince George’s County was reporting a positivity rate of 5.19% and Somerset County was reporting a rate of 5.04%. Although Somerset has moved into Phase 3 of the reopening plan released by Gov. Larry Hogan, Prince George’s County remains in Phase 2.

Baltimore City’s positivity was at 2.39% Friday.

The number of people hospitalized from the virus’ effects increased Friday after a slight dip Thursday. Maryland reported 416 patients Friday, up by four from the previous day. According to state officials, 111 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units, up two from Thursday.

Of the four people whose deaths the state reported Friday, one was in their 50s, one was in their 60s and two were in their 80s.

According to data released by the state, people above the age of 60 continue to die from the virus at a disproportionate rate. As of Friday, people in this age group comprised 86.5% of those who have been killed by COVID-19, though they make up only roughly 23% of the state’s population.

Marylanders younger than 35 displayed a higher seven-day positivity rate Friday than those older than 35: The rate for the younger of the two age groups was 3.37%, while the rate for the older of the two age groups was 2.92%.

Black and Hispanic Marylanders also continue to be afflicted by the coronavirus at a rate that is disproportionate compared to their share of the state’s population. As of Friday, people belonging to these two demographic groups accounted for 61.7% of the COVID-19 cases reported by the state, for which race data was available. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Black and Hispanic residents only comprised roughly 41.7% of the state’s population.

For comparison, white Marylanders comprised 30.6% of the 114,222 coronavirus cases reported by the state, for which race information was available. This demographic group makes up about 58.5% of the state’s population.

The state continues to report a higher mortality rate for white residents from the virus, compared to other demographic groups, though. As of Friday, at least 4.74% of white residents who contracted the virus died from it, compared to 1.57% of Hispanic residents and 3.78% of Black residents.

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