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Maryland reports 707 new coronavirus cases, continuing upward trend in caseload

Maryland reported 707 new coronavirus cases Friday, continuing an upward trend in the state’s caseload, as well 12 new deaths as a result of the virus.

In late June and early July, new daily case numbers, for the most part, hung around 300 and 400 new cases per day. Over the past several days, though, more than 600 cases have been reported daily. This is the third day this week the state has seen more than 700 new cases.

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Meanwhile, the state is still reporting fewer than 20 deaths each day, as it has for 22 days straight.

In addition, 434 people are currently hospitalized in Maryland, two fewer than on Thursday. Hospitalizations, which had remained in the 300-400 range earlier this month, have increased slightly since then.

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So far, 76,371 cases have been reported in Maryland and 3,227 people have died from the virus.

A high volume of cases continue to be reported among younger adults in Maryland. About 61% of Friday’s new cases were among people younger than 40. About 47% of Friday’s caseload was made up of people in their 20s and 30s.

The positivity rate among people younger than 35-years-old is 85.3% higher than among people older than 35.

The trend has started to alarm local health experts, and some have argued that bars, where groups of young people may congregate, spreading the disease, ought to be closed again. Young people tend to fare better when infected with the virus, but are likely to pass the virus on to older and more vulnerable individuals, such as family members, health experts say.

Gov. Larry Hogan issued a letter to local officials this week urging them to strictly enforce the coronavirus-related regulations on bars and restaurants, which require that patrons be seated to be served, and that capacity be limited to 50% or less in indoor spaces.

But Hogan has not moved to shut down indoor dining at bars and restaurants.

The state administered 24,171 coronavirus tests over the past 24 hours, a record high. In addition, 16 of Maryland’s two dozen jurisdictions have met the state’s goal of testing at least 10% of their populations.

The state’s testing positivity rate also remained below 5% for the 23rd consecutive day Friday, an important milestone, since the World Health Organization recommends that a state remain below 5% for 14 days before reopening begins. The state’s single-day testing positivity rate — 3.43% was also considerably low.

But as of early Friday morning Johns Hopkins University, which calculates the positivity rate differently, placed Maryland slightly above the critical benchmark, at 5.27% alongside 32 other states above 5%.

State officials calculate the positivity rate by dividing the number of positive tests by the total testing volume over a seven-day period. Hopkins, though, uses the number of people tested, the combination of new cases and the number of people who tested negative, accounting for the difference.

Baltimore City reported the largest number of new cases of any jurisdiction Friday, with 143. Baltimore County reported the second highest number of new cases, followed by Prince George’s and Montgomery counties— the state’s two most populous jurisdictions.

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