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Maryland surpasses 6,000 deaths due to coronavirus, adds 2,970 cases Thursday

Maryland reported 2,970 new cases of the coronavirus and 44 more deaths Thursday, as the state surpassed the grim milestone of 6,000 people who have died due to the virus.

Thursday’s additions bring the state to a total of 295,874 cases of COVID-19 and 6,004 people who have died of the illness or complications from it.

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As of Thursday, 1,834 people in Maryland were hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, 28 fewer than Wednesday, when the state set a record for hospitalizations due to the disease. Officials reported that 427 people required intensive care, 17 fewer than Wednesday.

While the number of people hospitalized due to the disease is similar to what the state saw during the early months of the pandemic, hospital and state officials have said that hospitals are not overwhelmed and still have capacity for new patients, regardless of whether they have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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The statewide seven-day average testing positivity rate is at 9.31%, down from 9.44% Wednesday.

While the majority of cases continue to be diagnosed in Maryland’s most populous jurisdictions, statistics show that a disproportionate number came from the state’s rural counties.

Washington County, a jurisdiction of roughly 151,000 people in Western Maryland that has been a hot spot for the disease since November, reported 178 new cases Thursday.

While Allegany and Garrettcounties, the other two in Western Maryland,have seen their rates of infections per 100,000 people decline in recent weeks, Washington’s has climbed steadily. The county has diagnosed 1,794 new cases of the coronavirus since Christmas, or about 19.3% of its 9,261 positive tests so far.

St. Mary’s County, a jurisdiction of under 115,000 people in Southern Maryland, reported 106 new cases Thursday for a total of 3,582 cases since March.

Combined, Washington and St. Mary’s counties account for nearly 10% of Thursday’s newly diagnosed cases while making up about 4.38% of the state’s population.

Prince George’s County, Maryland’s second-most-populous jurisdiction with about 909,000 people, reported the most new cases with 485.

About 60.27% of cases, 1,790, came from five jurisdictions in the populated Baltimore-Washington D.C. metropolitan corridor, including Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The five jurisdictions represent about 65.5% of the state’s population.

White Marylanders continue to represent the largest portion of new cases, effectively flipping statistics from the early months of the pandemic when Black residents led the state in coronavirus diagnoses and Hispanic residents were being affected at a disproportionate rate.

Of the 2,583 cases diagnosed in the past 24 hours where racial data was available, a little less than half, 1,228, were from white residents. The demographic represents about 50% of the state’s population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

As of Thursday, an additional 11,803 people were given their first dose of the vaccine, bringing the total number up to 98,536. The state reported that 732 received their needed second dose. The state is still in what it calls “Phase 1A” of its vaccine rollout, which covers health care workers, nursing home residents and staff, first responders and public safety and corrections officers.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter that 284,795 total doses have been delivered to various providers throughout the state.

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