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Coronavirus hospitalizations climb as Maryland reports 1,726 new cases

As hospitalizations continued to rise, Maryland reported 1,726 new coronavirus cases Monday and seven deaths tied to COVID-19, the illness the virus causes.

The state has reported 1,000 or more cases for 13 straight days. Monday’s case total was the Maryland’s sixth-highest during the pandemic.

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The state’s 14-day new case average set a record high for the eighth consecutive day, rising to 1,476 from 774 two weeks ago.

The number of people reported hospitalized with virus complications was 985 Monday, 47 more than Sunday. As the state’s caseload has surged, hospitalizations have spiked, up from 529 just two weeks ago.

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Among those hospitalized, 237 needed intensive care, one fewer than Sunday.

Hospitalizations and deaths typically lag behind increasing case totals, as it can take weeks for patients’ symptoms to worsen and for some to die.

The state’s seven-day average case rate per 100,000 people has nearly doubled from two weeks ago, up to 28.2 through Sunday from 13.86 as of Nov. 1.

“As we continue to see widespread community transmission, it’s more critical than ever that Marylanders increase their vigilance and follow the public health guidance,” Gov. Larry Hogan wrote in a tweet Monday morning. “We need to get back to basics: wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid gatherings, and practice physical distancing.”

Monday’s new data bring the state to a total of 167,656 confirmed cases and 4,160 deaths since March.

Models from the University of Washington are projecting Maryland will see a total of more than 8,200 deaths by March 1. With universal masking, that projection falls to about 6,950.

Counties in Western Maryland have seen numbers soar in recent weeks; Allegany County leads the way with 12.4 cases per 1,000 residents in the past 14 days, the highest among jurisdictions statewide.

Allegany added 58 new cases Monday. The county has seen 873 of its 1,664 total cases in the past 14 days, according to The Baltimore Sun’s coronavirus database.

Neighboring Garrett County has the second most cases per 1,000 residents in the past two weeks statewide, at 5.45. Of its 312 total recorded cases during the pandemic, 158 have been reported in the past two weeks.

Baltimore City has seen the third-most cases per capita statewide in the past two weeks at 4.72 cases per 1,000 residents. The city recently moved to limit restaurant capacity, close restaurants early, and close bars that don’t serve food entirely.

Baltimore County, which announced Friday it was tightening coronavirus restrictions on gatherings and restaurant hours and shutting down youth sports, reported 309 new coronavirus cases Monday, the largest number among the state’s jurisdictions.

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Younger Marylanders continued to drive the caseload Monday, with residents in their 20s making up nearly 20% of the new cases. Add in those in their 30s and 40s and that figure jumps to 53%. The state also added 225 new cases among residents between the ages of zero and 19.

While the virus has disproportionately killed older Marylanders, the deaths reported Monday underscore that middle-aged people are not immune. Mondays victims include three residents in their 50s, one in their 40s and three age 70 or older.

The virus has been surging nationwide, with 45 states including Maryland seeing cases increase in the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center. Just three saw cases decrease and two saw cases stay level during that timeframe.

The state’s positivity rate was 6.45% Monday, down from 6.57% Sunday. That rate has jumped from 3.93% just two weeks ago.

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