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Maryland reports 49 more coronavirus deaths, second most virus hospitalizations

Maryland reported 2,465 new coronavirus cases Wednesday and 49 more deaths tied to COVID-19, along with the second-highest number of people hospitalized for the virus to date.

Maryland has now seen 916 deaths in December, the highest of any month besides April and May. The state has reported 1,402 deaths so far in November and December — 26% of the state’s overall virus death toll.

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The 14-day average of new deaths reported daily was 43 for the third straight day. That average was in single digits as recently as Nov. 12.

The state reported 1,776 people hospitalized with virus-related complications Wednesday, 59 more than Tuesday. Wednesday’s tally is second only to the 1,799 hospitalizations reported a week ago. Hospitalizations have increased by more than 1,200 people since the beginning of November.

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Among those hospitalized, 419 required intensive care, up from 400 Tuesday.

The state now has reported 1,000 or more virus cases for 50 consecutive days and 2,000 or more cases for 26 of past 29 days, including every day in December. More than 2,000 cases in a day was not reported before mid-November.

The 112,000 confirmed cases in November and December represent about 44% of the state’s total cases during the pandemic. As of Monday, the entire state of Maryland was considered a “sustained hotspot,” according to a federal report.

The new data bring the state to a total of 257,862 confirmed virus cases and 5,402 deaths since March.

The numbers come a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said most Americans will be able to be vaccinated by mid-summer. Despite the glimmer of hope, more than 3.2 million people in America are expected to die in 2020, the most ever, largely because of the pandemic.

Maryland has now vaccinated 10,497 people, according to its data portal.

Among those reported to have died Wednesday, all but six were 60 or older, with the exceptions being two people in their 40s and four in their 50s. People 60 or older have made up more than 87% of deaths statewide despite accounting for fewer than 20% of the state’s confirmed cases.

The state’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 dropped slightly to 37.89 Tuesday, down from a pandemic high of 48.34 Dec. 10.

Some virus hotspots in Western Maryland have continued to cool down, but still have among the highest case rates in the state.

Allegany County still has the highest seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people in the state, though that figure fell from 89.67 Monday to 78.31 Tuesday. Allegany has seen about one confirmed case for every 13.5 residents.

Washington County, Allegany’s eastern neighbor, saw its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people fall as well, down to 75.38 Tuesday after being at a pandemic high of 87.48 Thursday. The county added four new deaths Wednesday, bringing its total to 127.

Garrett County, though, did see its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people tick up a bit to 76.81 Tuesday. The case rate Allegany’s western neighboring county was 69.92 Friday, but had fallen from a rate of 122.11 as of Dec. 6. The county reported one new death, bringing its death total to 37.

Baltimore City has seen its seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people climb to 35.1 Tuesday from 30.93 Sunday.

The state’s reported seven-day testing positivity rate was 7.36%, down from 7.47% Tuesday. The daily positivity rate reported Wednesday was 7.93%.

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