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Maryland reports 850 coronavirus cases, three deaths, as cases continue to grow among younger residents

Maryland reported 850 new coronavirus cases Monday and three more deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes, with cases rising among younger residents.

Monday’s numbers brought the state to a total of 146,995 coronavirus cases and 4,007 deaths since March. The state has seen the 15th-most deaths and the 31st-most cases per capita among states throughout the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

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As research has suggested cooler fall and winter air could increase the virus’ spread and experts have warned of “pandemic fatigue” with masks and distancing setting in, Maryland is one of 37 states and Washington, D.C., seeing cases increase in the past week, according to Hopkins’ data. Just seven states have seen cases decrease in the past week, while six states have seen cases stay essentially flat.

Maryland’s new cases have grown significantly in the past month, with the state’s 14-day average of daily reported cases spiking to 774 Monday from a three-month low of 488 Sept. 30.

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Younger Marylanders continued to drive case growth, with nearly 40% of new cases coming among those in their 20s and 30s, according to the latest figures. Include those in their 40s and that figure jumps to nearly 55%, while residents age 60 or older made up just 16% of new cases Monday.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate for those under the age of 35 has grown significantly in recent weeks, to 4.49% Sunday from 3.45% Oct. 22. During that period, the positivity rate for those older than 35 has climbed to 3.64% from 2.76%.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that rising positivity rates among people between the ages of 20 and 39 precede positivity rate increases for people in their 60s or older by four days to just over two weeks.

All three deaths reported Monday were among those age 60 or above. Marylanders 60 or older have accounted for more than 86% of deaths statewide during the pandemic thus far.

The state reported 529 people hospitalized Monday, up six from Sunday. Hospitalizations have grown steadily throughout the end of September and October, rising from a low since March of 281 Sept. 20. The number of patients hospitalized with the virus remians well below a late April peak of just above 1,700, but are getting closer to a second, smaller peak of 592 Aug. 1.

Among those hospitalized, 133 needed intensive care, six more than Sunday. The state’s ICU hospitalizations have nearly doubled since Sept. 20, when 68 people needed ICU care.

The state’s seven-day rolling positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests taken that come back positive over a weeklong period, was 3.94% Monday, up from 3.84% Sunday.The state’s seven-day positivity rate has spiked since Oct. 23, when it was 3.05%.

Hopkins' positivity rate was 3.15% as of Sunday, up slightly from 3.08% Saturday. Hopkins recently changed how it calculates its rate, measuring the number of new cases as a percentage of tests taken, which brought it down significantly.

Black and Latino Marylanders continue to be hit disproportionately by the virus, making up 57% of the new cases in which race was known Monday despite combining to represent less than half of the state’s population. By comparison, white residents make up 58% of the state’s population but were just 35% of new cases Monday in which race was known.

Overall, Black and Latino residents have accounted for close to 61% of virus cases in which race is known thus far during the pandemic.

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