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Maryland reports 1,999 newly confirmed coronavirus cases, 23 new deaths

Maryland on Sunday reported 1,999 new cases of the coronavirus and 23 more deaths as the state’s hospitals continue to accept more COVID-19 positive patients into their intensive care units.

Sunday’s additions bring the state’s total number of cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, to 196,447. The state has had 4,470 deaths due to the disease or complications from it.

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As of Sunday, 1,461 people in Maryland are hospitalized due to complications from COVID-19, 15 more people than Saturday. Of those, eight people were admitted to intensive care units while seven were posted in acute care units.

The state has nearly tripled the number of people hospitalized due to the disease since the beginning of November, starting the month with 523 people in either acute or intensive care units before skyrocketing to nearly 1,500 as hundreds have been admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 every week this month.

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The statewide testing positivity rate is at 6.53% as of Sunday, a slight increase of 0.15 percentage points compared with Saturday.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, which calculates the rate differently from the state, has the state’s positivity rate at 5.32%.

Maryland is one of 44 states to have a positivity rate above 5%, which the World Health Organization recommends jurisdictions reach before relaxing restrictions on businesses and social gatherings.

While Sunday’s case count did not reach the record-setting highs of earlier this month, when the state was reporting more than 2,000 cases per day regularly, some expect that a surge of cases caused by families gathering for Thanksgiving won’t be seen until later.

Rural jurisdictions in western and eastern Maryland continue to lead the state in cases per 100,000 people, as Allegany, Garrett, Somerset and Washington counties have the highest seven-day average infection rates as of Sunday.

Allegany County, a rural county of about 70,000 people in Western Maryland that includes Frostburg State University, still leads the state in infection rate despite a drop from 171.84 cases per 100,000 people Nov. 27 to 151.35 cases per 100,000 people on Nov. 28.

The county reported 65 new cases for a total of 3,093 and 2,318 cases since Nov. 1.

Garrett County, a rural county of fewer than 30,000 people that borders Allegany, is second with 113.74 cases per 100,000 people.

Officials reported 27 new cases in the jurisdiction, which has seen a surge of 578 cases this month for a total of 728 overall.

While the state’s rural populations are being disproportionately affected, the majority of cases still came from five heavily populated jurisdictions in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan region: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties along with Baltimore City.

According to the state, 1,209 cases, or about 60% of Sunday’s total case count, come from these five jurisdictions. About 65.52% of the state’s population lives in these five jurisdictions.

During this November surge, white residents have been the majority of coronavirus patients after Black and Hispanic/Latino residents were the focus of the state earlier in the pandemic.

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As of Sunday, there have been more reported cases among white residents, 59,209 cases, than any other race or ethnicity, marking the first time that there were more cases among white residents than among Blacks (58,842) since the pandemic began in mid-March.

Since Nov. 1, 20,095 cases were reported among white residents, eclipsing cases among Black residents (13,816) and Hispanic/Latino residents (6,749) by a wide margin.

Of the 43,891 cases reported this month where racial data was available, roughly 45.78% of November’s cases came from white residents. About half of the state’s population is white, meaning the racial distribution of cases is much more in line with the state’s demographics than in March or April.

Overall, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the state’s Black and Latino populations. Roughly 57.23% of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases where information on race was available, 96,392, were found in Black or Hispanic residents. The two demographic groups represent less than half the state’s population.

In comparison, white residents — who constitute more than 58% of the state’s population, or about 50% when accounting for those who also identify as Hispanic or Latino — represented about 35.15% of all confirmed cases with 59,209.

White people have a higher mortality rate compared with other races, with 1,983 cases proving fatal for a rate of about 3.35% as of Sunday. About 2.96% of cases among Black people and about 1.29% of cases among Latinos were fatal. All of these rates have been decreasing at varying rates in recent months.

The state does not have racial demographic data for 28,013 COVID-19 cases.

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