Maryland health officials confirmed 549 new cases of the coronavirus statewide Monday and 20 more deaths due to the disease.
The additions bring the state’s total to 53,327 cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. As of Monday, 2,431 people have died in Maryland due to the disease or complications of it.
The daily data released Monday show a sustained trend of declining hospitalizations in the state due to the virus, as 1,174 people are currently hospitalized, nine fewer patients than Sunday. However, the number of patients in intensive care remained the same at 479 patients.
While officials say there are promising signs in the declining rates of positive COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations due to the disease, Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young were among several political leaders to voice concerns that ongoing protests could cause another spike in two weeks.
The test positivity rate also continued to decline, albeit very slightly to 10.77% overall statewide. The state’s rate is still among the highest in the country, according to Johns Hopkins University, and many health officials advise that states should reach a 5% positive test rate before relaxing actions taken to reduce infections.
Gov. Larry Hogan has said that decreases in hospitalizations, the use of intensive care units and deaths are the markers he’s using to determine when to lift his orders requiring certain businesses be closed and that group size be limited during the pandemic.
Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead the state in confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 15,353 and 11,476, respectively. They’re followed by Baltimore County with 6,299 cases and Baltimore City with 5,604.
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The virus continues to disproportionately affect the state’s Latino and black populations, with the latest numbers still showing that the Hispanic community is contracting the disease at a faster rate.
As of Monday, more than a quarter of confirmed coronavirus cases, 13,753, were diagnosed in Hispanic or Latino patients, despite the fact they only comprise 10% of Maryland’s population.
This doesn’t account for the fact that the Maryland Department of Health does not have demographic data for roughly 18% of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the state.
The 20783 ZIP code — which includes parts of Hyattsville, Adelphi and Langley Park in Prince George’s County and is majority Hispanic, according to censusreporter.org — leads the state in total cases with 1,891 cases, 16 more cases since Sunday.
Neighborhoods in northwestern and southeastern parts of Baltimore City continue to represent a significant percentage of the city’s cases.
The 21224 ZIP code, which includes Canton, Highlandtown and parts of Dundalk, has 988 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the most of any ZIP code within the city limits. About 19% of the population of the 21224 ZIP code is Hispanic, according to censusreporter.org.
The 21215 ZIP code, which includes parts of Northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County, has 661 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Officials said that more than a third of those cases, 252, were confirmed at the FutureCare Lochearn nursing home in Northwest Baltimore.