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Coronavirus vaccinations dip as Maryland officials report 2,145 new cases, 28 more deaths

Maryland reported 2,145 new cases of the coronavirus and 28 more deaths Sunday as the state administered about 12,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sunday’s additions bring the state’s total to 341,452 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, and 6,690 people who have died due to the disease or complications from it.

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The state reported that a total of 12,289 doses of the vaccine — 10,541 first shots and 1,748 second shots — were administered in the past 24 hours.

The count is less than half the more than 31,000 shots that state officials reported Saturday. A total of 319,007 people have received COVID-19 vaccinations, or about 5.28% of the state’s population of roughly 6 million people.

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Health officials reported that 1,668 people in Maryland are currently hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, a decrease of 49 people over the past 24 hours. The statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate is at 7.21% as of Sunday, a slight decrease of .18 percentage points.

While the state has seen a decline in the number of daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations due to the disease compared to earlier this month as state officials ramp up their vaccination efforts, the state has yet to report under 1,500 new cases in a single day since mid-November.

The majority of cases — 66.43% of Thursday’s total — were reported in the state’s five most populous jurisdictions: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City. The region represents more than 65% of the state’s population.

Prince George’s County, the state’s second-most-populous jurisdiction with roughly 909,000 residents, reported the most cases Thursday, with 411. The county’s seven-day positivity rate is currently 9.31%.

Baltimore City, which began allowing limited indoor dining on Friday, reported 198 new cases in the past 24 hours and saw its seven-day average testing positivity rate dip slightly to 5.35%.

Of the five jurisdictions, Baltimore County continues to lead in its vaccination rate as health officials reported that about 6.40% of its population has now received its first dose and 0.94% having gotten their second shot.

Baltimore City was second with 5.02% receiving their first dose as of Sunday. Anne Arundel County has a first-dose vaccination rate of 4.89%, Montgomery County is at 4.03% and Prince George’s County remains the lowest in the state at 1.86%.

In Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, where some counties have seen the highest jumps in infection rates since November, officials are reporting some of the highest rates of vaccination in the state.

Health officials reported that 9.14% of Worcester County’s population has now received their first dose of the vaccine, the second-highest rate in the state. The Eastern Shore county of roughly 52,000 people has a significant portion of its population 65 years or older, 28.2% according to the U.S. Census Bureau, compared to the state average of 15.9%.

The county currently has a seven-day average testing positivity rate of 10.92% and reported an additional 26 new cases Sunday. Since Jan. 1, health officials have reported 752 county residents have contracted the virus, about 25.28% of its total 2,974 reported cases, and 25 people have died, 34.72% of its 72 total deaths.

In Garrett County, officials reported that about 8.50% of its population has received the first dose of the vaccine, the third-highest rate in the state. The Western Maryland county of roughly 29,000 people has been a focal point for the state as its testing positivity rate has consistently outpaced the rest of the state since November.

The county’s rate of infection has slowed in recent days, as officials reported seven new cases Sunday and a seven-day average positivity rate of 10.71%. While it still outpaces the state’s infection rate, health officials have reported a decrease of more than 4 percentage points since Jan. 19.

Talbot County, another largely rural county on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with 29.7% of its roughly 37,000-person population at least 65 years of age, has the highest vaccination rate in the state, reporting 9.91% of its residents have received their first dose as of Sunday.

Those currently eligible to receive the vaccine include front-line health care workers, first responders, nursing home residents and staff, people 75 and older, some teachers and school staff, residents of assisted living facilities, those in group homes and other congregate living facilities, as well as high-risk inmates and jail detainees.

Eligibility will expand again Monday to include people ages 65 to 74, more public safety and health workers, and certain essential workers.

Despite the dip in vaccinations, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter that the state has averaged more than 15,000 vaccine doses per day over the past week.

Of the 28 people reported Sunday to have died from the disease, 13 were 80 or older.

White residents accounted for 16 of the newly reported deaths where racial data was available while Black residents represented 12 of the confirmed deaths. Health officials also reported four Hispanic residents died due to the disease along with two Asian residents. (Deaths and the race of the victims are sometimes reported on different days.)

White residents represent roughly half of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while Black residents make up about 31.1% of Maryland’s residents.

Of the 1,861 cases reported Sunday for which racial data was available, health officials said that 780 cases were diagnosed in white residents, 641 in Black residents, 274 in Hispanic residents, 69 in Asian residents and 97 in other races.

The state does not have racial data available for 48,975 out of 341,452 total cases as of Sunday.

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