Maryland reported 559 new coronavirus cases Friday and seven new deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes, as Johns Hopkins University’s testing positivity rate for the state remained below 5%.
The new data brings Maryland to a total of 122,359 confirmed cases and 3,772 deaths since March. The state now has recorded single-digit death counts related to the virus in 20 out of the past 21 days.
Maryland’s seven-day positivity rate as calculated by Hopkins’ coronavirus resource center was 4.88% through Thursday, down from Wednesday’s 4.93% and below 5% for the second straight day. The figure measures the percentage of tests that return positive in a weeklong period, and was the 24th-best among states in Hopkins' data.
The state, which calculates its positivity rate differently than Hopkins, reported its seven-day testing positivity rate to be 2.51%, down from Thursday’s 2.57%, the seventh straight day it set a new low for the pandemic. Hopkins' figure for the testing positivity rate is consistently higher than the state’s because it uses the number of people tested, while the state calculates using the total number of tests administered.
The state has reported a positivity rate below 4% every day since Aug. 8 and below 5% since June 25.
The 5% mark is important because the World Health Organization recommends governments see positivity rates below 5% before easing virus-related restrictions. Maryland has now been under 5% for three months, but began reopening procedures before getting below that bar.
Among the new confirmed deaths reported Friday, one resident was in their 40s, one in their 60s, two in their 70s and three were age 80 or older. Thus far, 122 people in their 40s have been confirmed to have died from the virus in Maryland, just 3% of total confirmed deaths, while Marylanders aged 60 or older account for nearly 87% of confirmed deaths.
While the virus has killed older Marylanders disproportionately, it continues to spread rapidly among younger residents. Marylanders between the ages of 20 and 39 represented 38% of Friday’s new cases.
Maryland reported 72 cases among people between the ages of 10 and 19 and 27 new cases among those nine and younger, combining for nearly 18% of new cases. There were just 77 new cases among Marylanders age 60 or above, including just nine among those age 80 or older.
To date, total cases among each of those in their 70s and 80 or above have been the fewest among any 10-year age brackets, save for those 9 or younger.
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Maryland reported 344 patients currently hospitalized due to the virus, down five from Thursday. The new data broke a four-day string of rising hospitalizations. Overall, current hospitalizations are down significantly since they hit 592 on Aug. 1 and the peak of 1,784 on May 19.
Among those hospitalized, 79 needed intensive care, two fewer than Thursday.
Thus far, Black and Hispanic Marylanders have made up a combined 53% of deaths and 54% of cases despite representing about 42% of the state’s population, according to The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus data.
A significant portion of Friday’s new cases came from some of Maryland’s most populous jurisdictions. Prince George’s County reported 108 new cases, Montgomery County reported 107, Baltimore County reported 65 and Baltimore City reported 57 new cases, making up 60% of new cases.
Most of Maryland’s jurisdictions are reporting positivity rates below 3.5%, with 19 of 24 below that mark, Gov. Larry Hogan tweeted Friday.
However, confirmed cases per capita in the past 14 days remain highest in the state in three Eastern Shore counties. Dorchester County has the most cases per 1,000 residents at 2.44, neighboring Wicomico County has 2.43 cases per 1,00 residents and Worcester County, home to Ocean City, has 2.35 per 1,000, according to The Sun’s data.