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Maryland sees another drop in coronavirus hospitalizations, but cases on Eastern Shore surge

Maryland officials reported Monday that the state has confirmed 786 new cases of the coronavirus while the number of patients hospitalized — a key metric for reopening — dropped by nearly 100.

Maryland officials have confirmed 33,373 total cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Thirty-five more people died due to complications from the illness since Sunday, bringing the state total to 1,573 fatalities.

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In addition, the state added 110 probable deaths due to the disease or complications of it, but those have not been confirmed by a laboratory test.

Officials said 1,544 people are currently hospitalized due to complications from the virus, a decrease of 96 patients compared with Sunday.

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The state reported that 959 people are in acute care units with the disease and 585 are in intensive care units.

Monday is the fourth consecutive day the state has seen a decrease in hospitalizations due to the disease, which Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said would be a key measurement for determining when to lift social distancing guidelines and executive orders closing businesses.

Hogan, a Republican, has said he will start his three-stage recovery plan after the state sees two weeks of declines in the number of cases requiring hospitalization and intensive care.

The disease continues to disproportionately affect the state’s minority communities, as black and Hispanic Marylanders are being infected at higher rates than white residents.

As of Monday, 10,927 black residents have contracted the disease, the most of any racial demographic in Maryland, despite making up less than a third of the state’s population, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Hispanic people, however, have the highest rate of infection out of any race or ethnic group in the state. As of Monday, 7,057 Hispanic residents had tested positive for the coronavirus — or about one of every 100 people. They make up a little more than 10% of the state’s population, according to Census Bureau estimates.

For comparison, the infection rate among black residents is about 0.5% of the state’s total black population, or roughly five of every 1,000 residents.

The state reported that 7,260 confirmed coronavirus cases were from white patients; that demographic makes up more than 58% of the state’s population.

An analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics by the Economic Policy Institute found that only 16% of Latinos and 20% of African Americans are able to work from home, and often are working in jobs where social distancing is not possible.

Prince George’s and Montgomery counties continue to lead the state in total cases, with 9,687 and 6,909, respectively.

Wicomico County saw a significant jump — 119 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the county’s total to 690 cases.

The county, a largely rural region on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with a population around 100,000, has been a hot spot for new cases of the disease as officials report growing infections among poultry industry workers.

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The county is home to Perdue Farms’ headquarters, and a number of other poultry companies have processing plants in the area. Perdue Farms is the county’s third-largest employer, with 1,600 workers, according to state data.

Maryland officials have increased testing in the region, opening testing sites at Salisbury’s minor league ballpark and in nearby Caroline County. Earlier this month, Hogan said a team from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was in the region to help come up with a comprehensive plan to slow the virus’ spread.

The 20783 ZIP code — which includes parts of Hyattsville, Adelphi and Langley Park in Prince George’s County — continues to lead the state in total cases with 1,170, adding 23 new ones in the past 24 hours.

In Baltimore City, which has 3,353 total confirmed cases as of Monday, the northwest part of the city continues to have a high number of cases.

The 21215 ZIP code, which includes parts of Northwest Baltimore and Baltimore County, has 478 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, eight more since Sunday. Officials said that nearly half those cases, 231, were confirmed at the FutureCare Lochearn nursing home in Northwest Baltimore. As of Monday, 21 residents at the facility have died due to the disease.

Baltimore Sun reporters Pamela Wood and Thalia Juarez contributed to this article.

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